Two Republicans have put themselves up to fill the Atlantic County freeholder seat vacated Friday by Freeholder Chairman Frank Formica, of Atlantic City.
Former county Sheriff Frank X. Balles and former congressional candidate and defense contractor Brian Fitzherbert each announced their candidacies late Friday, after Formica announced his immediate resignation from the board.
Both said they look forward to going before the county Republican Committee to seek its appointment to the seat.
Formica said his new job as a consultant with Salmon Ventures of Millville had created too many conflicts of interest for him to remain on the board.
“I believe I can contribute to further develop our local economy by building assets like the FAA Tech Center and Research Park,” Fitzherbert said, “by drawing upon my private sector experience in aviation, aerospace and defense in the last decade.”
Balles said his experience as sheriff from 2009 to 2017, and his experience on the Egg Harbor Township Committee from 2019 to 2020, would make him the best replacement for Formica.
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“I believe that my knowledge and leadership ... has provided me with a unique skill set which will further our efforts keeping Atlantic County the best-run county in the state,” Balles said.
Balles, 58, is a 32-year veteran of law enforcement. In 2017, he resigned five months early from the job of sheriff to return to his job as a Pleasantville police captain, the rank he held before being elected sheriff.
The position as captain was open and would not be at the end of the year, he said at the time. At the time he earned $107,250 as sheriff and would earn $118,000 in Pleasantville.
Egg Harbor Township’s Fitzherbert, the founder of the Atlantic County Young Republicans, was one of three Republicans running in 2019 for the right to challenge then Democratic Congressman Jeff Van Drew in the 2020 election.
After Van Drew, R-2nd, switched parties to Republican, he dropped out of the primary at the request of President Donald Trump and other party leaders.