Don't miss exclusive interviews like this one on Antwan McClellan in FRNJ Extra? Subscribe Now.
By Clyde Hughes | AC JosepH Media
OCEAN CITY – In November, Antwan McClellan solidified himself as one of – if not – the leading and most recognizable Black Republican politician in New Jersey, winning a second term in the state's 1st Legislative District.
McClellan, the former Ocean City councilman, made history in 2019 as the first Black to represent the district, which encompasses all of Cape May County and parts of Atlantic and Cumberland counties. He is currently the only African American Republican in the entire New Jersey Legislature.
McClelland and Assemblyman Erik Simonsen stunned Democratic incumbents Bruce Land and Matthew Milam in a tight 2019 contest to win the district once represented by now U.S. Rep. Jeff Van Drew. In November, McClelland and Simonsen earned 14,000 more votes than they did in 2019 to firmly control the district.
Their District 1 Senate running mate, Mike Testa, captured his seat with more than 60% of the vote.
"It feels really good to win the way we did," McClellan told Front Runner New Jersey. "It feels satisfying to know that people are seeing the good work that we are doing. We're doing it as a team."
McClellan said he believed the election was a validation of what his team had been hearing from residents in District 1, that they want to be able to simply live their lives and have appreciated the work he, Simonsen and Testa had been doing to ensure that.
"They want us to keep fighting for the unemployed and keep fighting to decrease the mandates that have been dropped on them," McClellan said. "So we're fighting for them and we'll continue to fight for them."
McClellan said it is not loss on him the significance of his presence in the Republican Party and has been comfortable in making sure African American concerns are heard withing the GOP tent.
"It feels really good to have that voice in the party and know that I'll bring a different voice in a different way of life to the Republican caucus," McClellan said. "Hopefully that will change soon where I won't be the only voice there. As of right now I am and it feels good to give them a different side or a different perspective."
McClellan said he wants to continue to work hard and bring good legislation to the districts. The youngest of six children who also served on the Ocean City school board as well as city council, he is the confidential assistant/personnel director and public information officer in the Cape May County Sheriff's Department.
He was a primary sponsor of such bills as recognizing the Howell House in Cape May as Harriet Tubman Museum in New Jersey and authorizing elective surgeries and invasive procedures to be performed during coronavirus pandemic.
He was a co-sponsor of a bill broadening the exemption from civil service examination for certain entry-level law enforcement positions.
He serves as a trustee on the Ocean City Historical Museum and volunteers for the South Jersey Field of Dreams, which provides the opportunity for special needs children to participate in sports programs.
QUESTION: Will There Be More Blacks Candidates/Legislators emerging from the GOP in the future? Why or Why Not? Comment in the Discussion Panel Below.
What's New on Front Runner New Jersey.com?
Follow Us Today On:
Check Out FRNJ EXTRA Here. Note from AC JosepH Media: If you like this story and others posted on Front Runner New Jersey.com., lend us a hand so we can keep producing articles like these for New Jersey and the world to see. Click on SUPPORT FRNJ and make a contribution that will do directly in making more stories like this available. Thank you for reading.