Will Democrats pull a switcheroo in Cumberland?

There is some talk among South Jersey Democrats that Cumberland County Democratic Chairman Louis Magazzu will drop his bid for re-election to a fifth term as a Freeholder. Some Democrats are concerned that a controversy surrounding Magazzu’s failed bid for a National Association of Counties (NACo) leadership post could cost them the three Freeholder seats up this year.

Under a New Jersey Supreme Court ruling during the 2002 U.S. Senate race, candidates could be replaced on the ballot as late as early October.

Magazzu raised and spent nearly $80,000 to run for NACo Second Vice President, a post that would have put him on track to run the national organization. His contributors included some county vendors and engineering firms, and $5,000 from Gov. Jon Corzine.

Democrats are split this year, with two former Freeholders, Jane Christy and Jennifer (Lookabaugh) Swift, running as independents. Christy and Swift were both Democrats.

Also at stake in Cumberland this year: the Assembly seats of Nelson Albano and Matthew Milam, both Vineland Democrats.

Democrats now have a 7-0 majority on the Board of Freeholders; if the GOP sweeps in 2009, they would be just one seat away from control in 2010, when U.S. Rep. Frank LoBiondo (R-Ventnor) heads their ticket.

Magazzu is running with Bridgeton businessman Wade Sjogren and incumbent Nelson Thompson, a labor leader who was appointed to fill a vacant seat earlier this year. The GOP candidates are Lawrence Township Deputy Mayor Tom Sheppard, former Vineland City Solicitor Rick Tonnetta, and Vineland businessman Sam Fiocchi for the unexpired term.

Editor’s note: Magazzu denies that he might get out of the race, and his campaign manager says there are no rumors that he will do so. PolitickerNJ.com stands behind our story.