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Paul Sutphen recall, Frankford, New Jersey, 2009

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An election to recall Mayor Paul Sutphen from the Township Committee took place on December 8, 2009 Frankford, New Jersey, where it was approved. This marked the first recall election of a government official in Sussex County. The candidate running against Sutphen, Emery "Sam" Castimore, won the mayoral election and took over as mayor after the recall election.[1]

Results for Paul Sutphen recall:[2]

  • Yes: 850 (53%) Approveda
  • No: 767 (47%)

Results for mayoral election:

  • Castimore: 863 (54%) Approveda
  • Sutphen: 722 (46%)

According to supporters of the recall election, ordinances were passed earlier in 2009 which limited commercial development on county Route 565 and state Route 206. The ordinance, according to reports, prohibits strip mall, service station and restaurant construction without wait staff and “box stores”. Recall supporters argue that Sutphen has "made decisions on township issues based on his own personal agenda and not for the benefit of residents."[3]

Sutphen entered office in 2008. His first term is scheduled to expire December 2010.

Candidates

Due to the recall of Sutphen, two candidates appeared on the ballot for the seat of mayor: Emery "Sam" Castimore (59), a local veterinarian, and Sutphen (72), who according to New Jersey recall election law is allowed to run for his own seat.[3]

Path to the ballot

In order to force a recall election, supporters were required to collect and submit at least 25 percent or 1,030, of the municipality's voters registered during the last general election.[4] Signatures were validated on June 25, 2009. A total of 164 signatures were dismissed from the submitted signatures, however, supporters still surpassed the required signatures - 1,066 valid.[5]

Signatures challenged

In July 2009, Sutphen challenged the validity of more than 500 signatures. At the same time recall supporters challenged the town clerk's decision to invalidate 164 signatures. According to township clerk Louanne Cular said that the 164 signatures were dismissed because some signatures belonged to deceased voters, other petitions contained illegible signatures or did not select the box that said the voter read and understood the petition.

The mayor's challenge, however, argued that some of the signatures may have been forged and questioned if the signatures belonged to voters that registered in the town, according to Cular. In regards to the challenge, Sutphen said,"I should not be recalled from office because I have not done anything wrong and I want to maintain doing my job for the township. I swore I'd finish my term."[5]

Election costs

According to reports, the recall election is estimated to cost township taxpayers $15,500.[4]

See also

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Additional reading

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