The Democratic Party’s slow march to momentous Burlington County victories started in Evesham in 2007 when they won control of the council in the traditionally Republican town, which they used as leverage to seize two seats on the freeholder board in an Obama election year.
Humiliated by those losses and the success of U.S. Rep. John Adler (D-Cherry Hill) and Obama, the Republicans read this town of 50,000 once again as the first line of battle for reclamation of what they consider their territory. They see a crucial opportunity to try to wrest the council away from their rivals, who are still overjoyed by the advance of Chris Brown from his municipal victory to his Freeholder Board romp with Mary Anne Reinhart of Shamong in 2008.
For the Democrats, incumbent Councilman Mike Schmidt is running with Councilwoman Alicia Marrone who replaced Brown on the Evesham Council, and newcomer Jill Whipple.
Republicans Kurt Croft, Debbie Hackman and Joe Howarth are targeting promises the Democrats made two years ago to end double digit tax increases.
A Republican sweep would shift council control in their favor, 3-1.
“It’s all about taxes,” said GOP consultant Chris Russell, spokesman for the GOP. “After 2007 and last year, Republicans want to get the bad taste out of their mouths and this is the first opportunity to do so. The Democratic council passed a 27% tax increase, and people feel they were lied to.”