Usually the Governor announces his own appointments, but this week Ocean County Prosecutor Thomas Kelaher said that his successor will be Marlene Lynch Ford, a former Democratic Assemblywoman from Ocean County.
Ford was first elected to the Legislature in 1983, defeating one-term Republican Warren Wolf (who had won an open Assembly seat in 1981 when Hazel Gluck unsuccessfully sought to move up to the Senate in a race against John Russo). At age 29, she is among the youngest women to ever win election to the New Jersey State Assembly.
She was defeated for re-election to a second term in 1985 by Republican Robert Singer, the Mayor of Lakewood; she lost a comeback bid against Singer in 1987, and served as Assembly Democratic Counsel in 1988 and 1989. She returned to the Assembly in 1989, ousting Singer from his seat. She lost again in 1991 — this time, after redistricting, to David Wolfe and Virginia Haines.
Singer, who has represented Ocean County in the State Senate since 1993, has now signed off on his onetime rival — but then again, Singer has gotten over his extreme contempt for some Ocean County Democrats in the 1980’s. One of the Democrats he strongly disliked — then Senate President John Russo — is now his father-in-law.