Incumbent John Carman was running to be re-elected as an Atlantic County Freeholder - a member of the county’s legislative body that has a term of three years - against Ashley Bennet.
The day after US President Donald Trump’s inauguration in January 2017, millions of people all over the world gathered to protest and march for gender equality in an organised Women’s March.
Mr Carman posted a meme on Facebook that day that read: “Will the women's protest be over in time for them to cook dinner?" and wrote a caption: “Just asking?”
He later said at an October county meeting with citizens that posting the meme was “bad choice” but that the women in his life were “strong and confident” enough to know it was just a joke and not to be offended.
One woman at the same October meeting brought a box of dry macaroni and cheese and told Mr Carman to “cook your own damn dinner.”
He actually apologised a few days later, saying that it became “obvious to me that I have hurt many people, men and women.”
However, the damage had been done as far as Ms Bennet was concerned.
The 32-year-old psychiatric emergency screener at Cape Regional Hospital in Egg Harbor Township had never run for office before, but decided to take up the mantle after she saw Mr Carman’s initial post.
She said she “was angry about [the Facebook meme], because elected officials shouldn’t be on social media mocking and belittling people who are expressing their concerns about their community and the nation.”
That was not Mr Carman’s only controversial move either.
Earlier this month he wore a jacket that displayed a badge of the Confederate flag, used by Southern rebels who fought to keep slavery alive during the US Civil War.
He said the patch had been on the jacket for years and did not have racial overtones but instead represented the political divide between the northern and southern parts of the state.
He said many residents of the southern county often feel they are short-changed when it comes to state funding. He apologized to anyone who felt offended.
Both candidates ran on a platform to bring jobs back to the struggling area where many Atlantic City casino closures have increased unemployment.
Ms Bennet said she plans to particularly focus on helping those of the 275,000 people in the county on low and fixed-incomes.
“Don’t expect it to be easy, don’t expect people to just jump to your side,” Ms Bennet said on running for elected office for the first time.
“If people feel they’re being left out and their views and needs overlooked, they want to know what you’re going to do to change that,” she noted.
Ms Bennet's was one of several Democrat wins in the state including Ravinder Bhalla, the first Sikh to be elected as mayor of Hoboken and New Jersey’s new governor Phil Murphy.
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