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Atlantic City councilwoman claims victory, but mayor says not so fast

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The Atlantic City councilwoman who was bumped to the B column by her own party claimed a three-point victory in the primary.

Second Ward Councilwoman LaToya Dunston went on Facebook live Tuesday to officially announce her win and thank her supporters.

But the mayor, Dunston's political foe, had another view.

"The election is far from over, and they know it," Marty Small told BreakingAC.

He would not comment publicly beyond that.

The certified results gave Dunston a 300 to 297 advantage over Viana "Vi" Bailey, who had the Democratic Party endorsement.

Despite being the incumbent, Dunston did not get her party's nomination, and instead was pushed to Column B.

The move was made because Dunston backed Republican Vern Macon in the Atlantic County commissioners race against Democrat Ernest Coursey, Small's chief of staff.

Democratic Councilmen Bruce Weekes and George Tibbitt also went against Coursey in what became a growing rift between the councilmembers and the mayor.

The party censured Dunston, Weekes and Tibbitt an a result.

"I haven’t been quiet about what’s been going on in the neighborhood," Dunston said in her brief appearance Tuesday on Facebook. "My entire time on City Council has always been hostile to be honest. I just want to be able to serve the people."

Dunston drew Small's ire during the last council meeting before the election, introducing two resolutions aimed at alleged issues in his administration.

Both called for state investigations: one into alleged harassment by an unnamed city worker, the other claiming employees were working on campaigns during work hours.

Dunston videoed a confrontation between her and a member of the mayor's anti-violence unit during the final moments of the campaign.

"I didn't have school board employees (working on my campaign)," she said Tuesday. "I didn't have city of Atlantic City employees."

She also alleged that people were getting messages asking if they really voted for her.

"They're trying to intimidate you, to scare you," she said.

The issue isn't about her and Bailey, Dunston said.

"This was about me and the other guy," she said of Small. "It's not going to stop unless you all stand up."

She seemed to agree with Small on one thing: It's not over.

"It's going to be a long road," she said. "It's going to be a long fight. I'm not going anywhere."

author

Lynda Cohen

Lynda Cohen founded BreakingAC after working as a local newspaper reporter for more than two decades. She is an NJPA award-winner and was a Stories of Atlantic City fellow.

Sunday, May 19, 2024
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