Veteran of some of the most bruising political brawls in recent state history, who frequently went national and did it all without a driver’s license, Stephenine Dixon said she intends to retire from political campaigns to specifically focus more on people-power community building on her hometurf.
Born in Atlantic City and raised on Kentucky Avenue, mentored by Regena Thomas, Dixon first went to work on a campaign with Speedy Marsh in the late 1980s, and last year finished her four-decade run as the campaign manager of Tim Alexander’s 2nd District Congressional Campaign.
In that year, Atlantic City Mayor Lorenzo Langford backed Dixon for a council appointment to a vacant council seat. In a faceoff with Callaway, Dixon won on the machines then lost by one vote after a tally of vote-by-mail ballots, long Callaway’s field specialty.
In 2020 – a big year for Dixon the campaign operative – she served as the campaign manager for Mayor Marty Small, who was running in the primary against a candidate backed by a motivated Callaway organization. She also served as regional organizing director for Mayor Pete Buttigieg’s Iowa Campaign, as Buttigieg’s Alabama State Director, and for the Joe Biden Campaign’s PA operation.
Critically, Biden won Pennsylvania as he would go on to defeat incumbent Republican President Donald J. Trump.
This past year, Dixon was deeply gratified by Alexander’s CD-2 candidacy, describing the Jeff Van Drew challenger – a retired cop and civil rights attorney – as “excellent and experienced.”
Dixon loves politics, and has no bitterness. She intends to carry on in a more educational role as chair of the Atlantic County Democratic Committee’s Black Caucus, where she wants to hammer in the lessons she has learned about the foundations of voter registration. But she did lament the extent to which deals get done, closing off money to exceptional people.
Too often, the best candidates become the enemies of a two-party establishment fearful of legitimate grassroots candidacies.
It gets exhausting fighting Democrats as much as Republicans sometimes, or repeatedly butting heads with the intransigence of power and seeing little actual change on the ground.
So, Dixon wants to focus her considerable energies on people, not campaigns.
“When I’m in it, I’m in it 100%, and I realize, if I want to serve people and the community, I can’t keep doing this,” Dixon told InsiderNJ.
“I may have lost the race for Tim Alexander for Congress, but he did get 45% against JVD and it was his first time running,” she added. “…I did get several wins on the coordinated campaign in Atlantic City, Pleasantville and Hamilton Twp; and I became the First Black Caucus, Chair for Atlantic County Democratic Committee, so great things are sure to come in Atlantic County.”