Castimore wins Frankford seat

December 9, 2009


FRANKFORD -- Mayor Paul Sutphen was recalled in Tuesday's special election, the first recall election for a government official in Sussex County.

Taking Sutphen's place on the township committee will be local veterinarian Emery "Sam" Castimore.

The first question on the ballot asked if Sutphen should be recalled from the township committee.

According to unofficial results Tuesday, that question passed with 53 percent, or 850 votes, for the recall and 767, or 47 percent, against it.

The second question asked voters to choose a replacement for Sutphen.

New Jersey's election law allowed Sutphen to run as a candidate on the ballot.

Castimore won with 54 percent, or 863 of the votes; Sutphen received 722 votes, or 46 percent.

"I am deeply concerned with the direction the new majority will take Frankford," Sutphen said in a prepared statement Tuesday night. "As for my recall, I can say that I have carried out my responsibilities of Township Committeeman to the best of my abilities."

Sutphen, 72, has served as a member of the township committee, land use board and plan endorsement advisory committee since he took office in 2008. Had he not been recalled, his term would have expired December 2010.

Castimore, 59, ran against committeeman Robert McDowell in 2006. McDowell was defeated in the June primary by recall activist, Gary Larson.

"I'm thrilled that an informed group of voters in Frankford township have decided to take back our town because they are more aware of issues than people who choose to keep their heads in the sand with local, state and national politics as they are," Castimore said. "We need sustained controlled growth in our country or our children and grandchildren are doomed."

County Board of Elections Administrator Marge McCabe said Castimore will be sworn in to office as soon as the ballots are certified, but did not know how long that would take.

Recall organizers have said Sutphen made decisions on township issues based on his own personal agenda and not for the benefit of residents.

They specifically cite ordinances passed earlier this year that limit commercial development on county Route 565 and state Route 206. The ordinance does not change the zoning, but prohibits the building of strip malls, service stations, restaurants without wait staff and box stores.

Landowners worry the ordinance would decrease their property values, and recall supporters have questioned whether the move is an attempt to oust the Sussex Commons outlet mall, a 90-store outlet center proposed for the town center at Ross's Corner.