Tuesday, March 06, 2007


Winslow Mayor Sue Ann Metzner announced Monday that she would become a Democrat.
Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Courier-Post Staff

Surrounded by the standard-bearers of the Camden County Democratic Party on Monday, Sue Ann Metzner, the Republican mayor of Winslow, pledged allegiance to a new banner.

Metzner, a bitter foe of local Democrats during her 12 years at the helm of this sprawling township, has buried past grudges and joined forces with sworn adversaries.

Metzner, 59, a retired investment executive, said she hasn't changed, but times have.

"I believe we're experiencing growing pains and I don't have all the answers," Metzner said after delivering her announcement in a tiny community center packed with several dozen people on Erial Road. "I want to tap into all of these people in many levels of government. I want them to come to the table with me. I want them to bring money to the table, to my community."

She also convinced fellow Republican Nick LoSasso to change parties as well. Their switch vaults Democrats from a 5-4 disadvantage to a 6-3 advantage on the township committee.

Democrats have a virtual lock on just about every level of government in the county. All of the freeholders are Democrats, and just about every large and small town is also controlled by the party. The powerful party machine is known to wield wide influence in the region and throughout the state.

George E. Norcross III, head of the influential family with deep roots in the county machine, is a political power broker. His bother, Donald Norcross, is the co-chairman of the county Democratic committee.

Metzner said she has never met either Norcross.

"I believe Mr. George Norcross is involved in much higher level elections than these local elections," Metzner said. "I think, obviously, I will meet his brother who is co-chairman of the party."

Predictably, Republicans, who have had little to cheer about in Camden County, came down hard on Metzner.

"By jumping in bed with the party of Wayne Bryant, Lou Greenwald, Jim McGreevey, John Lynch and Barbara Holcomb -- all of whom she has blasted for inept leadership and poor policy choices -- Metzner today displays an unmatched level of hypocrisy," Camden County Republican Committee Chairman Rick DeMichele said.

Frank Martino, a township resident and registered Republican who dropped into Metzner's announcement to wish her well, didn't see it that way.

"I'm a Republican, but I vote for Sue Ann," said Martino, 62, a retired restaurant owner. "I think she's a good mayor and she's doing what's best for the community."

Metzner said she wanted to make the announcement before filing deadlines next month for primary elections. She said she's been thinking about making the switch for some time and didn't want to wait until after she was elected to do it. Metzner was on the township committee for seven years before being elected mayor.

Jim Beach, the county clerk and party co-chairman was on hand for Metzner's announcement. He made no effort to hide his glee.

"On a scale of 1 to 10, this is a 12," Beach said.

Metzner had a more low-key summary.

"I'm just changing pins from an elephant to a donkey," said Metzner, who also cited the policies of the national Republican party for making the switch. "I didn't change who I am. I have survived for 19 years by making the right decisions. Nothing about that is going to change."

Staff writer Alan Guenther contributed to this report. Reach Bill Duhart at (856) 486-2576 or

Below are a few pictures of various events in which Mayor Metzner has participated.

UNofficially Winslow Notes:

Courier Post Newspaper incorrectly titled this article as "GOP Loses Control of Winslow".

The GOP lost "control", also known as majority party, as a result of the November 2006 election. Winslow Township's government is setup as a weak Mayor and strong council (Committee). Mayor Metzner joining forces with the current Democrat majority party did not change the "control" or majority party of Winslow Township.