The Republican primary is uncontested, with incumbents Bruce Garganio of Florence and Mary Ann O’Brien of Medford seeking another three-year term on the all-Republican five-member board.
Reinhart, who in 2008 became one of the first Democrats elected to county office in 23 years, was defeated in her reelection bid last year after her opponents waged a tough campaign against her.
The county GOP ran TV attack ads that accused her of voting against taking a cut in the freeholders’ $21,000 salaries because she was "selfish." Later, Reinhart, a real estate agent and former Shamong Township committeewoman, explained that unlike others, she worked full-time as a freeholder and felt she should be compensated.
Reinhart did not respond to calls and e-mail for comment on this article.
Still-Pettis said Reinhart initially had not planned to run again this year. Reinhart changed her mind, Still-Pettis said, because "she was upset they didn’t put me on the ticket. ... She didn’t think that was fair."
Still-Pettis, of Westampton, said the party broke with tradition when it decided not to endorse her. An African American, she also complained that "there is no minority on the [local] Democratic ticket" and that she should have been given another chance.
Party chairman Joe Andl could not be reached for comment but said in an interview earlier that Belgard, an Edgewater Park committeeman and lawyer, came "close to winning" in 2010.
Belgard said in an interview: "I think the party selected us especially because they saw how hard I worked two years ago in running for freeholder, and I said I would put the same effort into it this year." She said she and Schwartz had been knocking on doors and getting out their message that it was time for one-party rule to end.
But Still-Pettis, volunteer director of a homelessness organization in Mount Holly, questioned why Belgard decided against running in 2011. And, she said, Belgard and Schwartz "didn’t even show up" at the packed public hearings freeholders held earlier this year on the controversial sale of the county’s 100-year-old Buttonwood Hospital.
Still-Pettis and Reinhart both attended and spoke out against selling the hospital-nursing home for the poor.
Belgard said she chose not to run last year because she decided to "let my family recover," noting she has two children, ages 7 and 10.
She said she attended about five freeholder meetings last year and was struck by the lack of discussion. At one meeting, she said, "there was an agenda of 30 to 40 items, and the meeting didn’t even last 30 minutes," she said. She said she believed it was time "for a shake-up."
Schwartz, a retired nursing and rehabilitation center administrator from Southampton, said her only experience in running for office was about a decade ago when she was elected a fire commissioner. She said she decided to run "because I got tired of sitting around complaining and thought I should do something about it."
When she attended her first freeholder meeting a few weeks ago, she came away thinking "a lot of things are done behind closed doors." She said she wanted to apply her experience as an administrator to see that county business is handled better.
Schwartz also said the decision to sell Buttonwood was a mistake because she believed it could have been run more efficiently by the county so as to stem its losses.
In Camden County, there are three freeholder seats up for grabs.
Democrats have a contested primary, with Michael Leonetti of Collingswood challenging the endorsed incumbents: Jeff Nash of Cherry Hill, Ian Leonard of Camden, and Michelle GenTek of Gloucester Township.
The unopposed Republican freeholder candidates are Diana Escobar-Wachter and Eugene Lawrence, both of Gloucester Township, and Ian Gill of Mount Ephraim.
Gloucester County has a contested Democratic primary for surrogate. The endorsed candidate is incumbent Helene Reed, a former freeholder from Williamstown running against Anthony S. Marsella, a former state assemblyman from Washington Township. Carolyn Chapman of West Deptford is running in the uncontested GOP primary.
There is also a contested race for Gloucester County sheriff, with Philip Dieser 3d of Williamstown vying against Chris Marrero of Mantua. Incumbent Sheriff Carmel M. Morina, a Democrat, is unopposed.
Contact Jan Hefler at 856-779-3224, email@example.com, or follow on Twitter @JanHefler. Read her blog on philly.com/BurlcoBuzz