The backers of the “no” vote on Tuesday’s referendum question in Atlantic City this afternoon expressed considerable confidence in the face of an effort to change the city’s form of government.
“I feel great,” Mayor Marty Small told InsiderNJ. “This is money power versus people power. The cast of characters on the other side had no real human connection to the city. Once people found out what this was about, they rejected it. We believe we’re going to be victorious, and there will be a lot of people with egg on their faces now.
“It’s not over till it’s over,” added Small, giving a nod to the 5 p.m. Tuesday, May 12th deadline for vote by mail ballots.
But when asked if he believes the “no vote will prevail, Small added, “Yes.”
His local rival, Democratic Party operative Craig Callaway, said the election was over.
“Overwhelmingly, the people of Atlantic City have rejected this takeover attempt by outsiders,” Callaway said. “I’ve been confident from day one. I was never impressed with the signatures supposedly collected. People will sign anything without listening or reading. It was a misread by Bob McDevitt to think that people signing something translated to votes.”
So far, Callaway said Atlantic City voters have submitted 7,000 VBMs, plus an additional 1,200 harvested absentee ballots.
“I’m looking at the list, and I know they are in big, big trouble,” Callaway said.
A second source said the clerk’s office has at this moment received 4,988 total ballots, excluding what a Callaway-affiliated source described as ongoing field work. “His [Craig’s] count more accurately reflects what’s happening being in the field,” said the source. Out of the 4,988 count, 21% are from the 6th Ward (1,060), home to Councilman Jesse Kurtz.
Contacted for comment, McDevitt, who spear-headed the “yes” vote movement for a change of city government from a city council to manager form, said he still had his head down on the job.
“Let him,” he said, when informed of Callaway’s endzone dance.
“We’re still working,” McDevitt added.
“Leon Lett comes to mind.”