CAMDEN, NJ – Acting mayor Vic Carstarphen won the Democratic nomination to run for a four-year mayoral term in November, after unofficial results show he edged three challengers at the polls on Tuesday.
Speaking to friends, family and fellow Democrats last night at the Victor Pub on Market Street, an ecstatic Carstarphen said of his victory: “It’s not about me; it’s about us.
“It’s not four people (or) three people. It’s about (all) people. We should work together to make sure everyone is affected, ”he said.
Carstarphen, 51, ran on the Democratic County Committee polling line with a board list that included incumbents Angel Fuentes and Sheila Davis, and party newcomer Nohemi Soria-Pérez.
Carstarphen faced challenges from Elton Custis, school advisory board member and addiction counselor; Luis Quinones, Spanish teacher at Pride Academy which is part of the city’s Housing Authority; and City Councilor Felisha Reyes-Morton.
Custis, 39, led the most vigorous campaign with a board list that included recording artist Carla Benson; retired deputy director Carmen Lozada; and army veteran Hector Rojas.
Last night Custis thanked voters and supporters, swearing, “The work continues; the fight goes on.
Reyes-Morton, who has two more years to serve on city council, said: “I feel like a winner. I won my freedom… I (campaigned) for change… I pulled out of the disenfranchisement and corruption (that) the political establishment represents.
“The political establishment won, but they lost a lot of integrity in the process,” Reyes-Morton said.
Voter turnout is generally low in Camden elections. Yesterday was no different; about 18% of the city’s 21,268 registered Democrats turned out to vote. There was no Republican primary on Tuesday.
Carstarphen’s rise in political circles was rapid. Democrats handpicked Carstarphen to run for council in 2019 when Ward 2 Councilor Brian K. Coleman decided not to run again.
Carstarphen won and took office in 2020, but he only served 17 months of his four-year tenure on council before Democrats re-nominate him to be acting mayor after Mayor Francisco “Frank resigned. “Moran.
Carstarphen is best known as a Camden High School basketball star in the mid-1980s and a three-year college debutant at Temple University. Prior to entering politics, Carstarphen was head coach of the Camden High boys’ basketball team for one season and its assistant coach for five years previously.
A consultant for an accounting firm in Cherry Hill, Carstarphen served on the board of directors of the Camden Educational Foundation for over a decade and worked as a senior partner for Holmes & Company LLC, an accounting firm based in Cherry Hill.