Three weeks after , calling them too extreme to serve on , current Republican committeeman Sean Kilpatrick did an abrupt about-face Thursday, apologizing for his words in a statement released to local media.
“I made a wrong, emotional decision and gave an unfair assessment,” Kilpatrick said.
The committeeman had slammed his fellow Republicans for what he called at the time their “pitchfork and torch mentality,” but took back those harsh criticisms in his statement, saying he believes there's a middle ground they can all work toward.
“I might not see eye to eye with them on every issue, but that is not an excuse to attack their character,” Kilpatrick said.
Ultimately, it's about serving the community as best as possible, Kilpatrick said.
“The fact of the matter is that it is up to the residents of West Deptford to decide who they wish to place in the two open seats on the Township Committee, and I will work with whomever they choose to select,” he said. “What is most important is that we move our town forward to a fiscally sound and bright future.”
Cianfarini and Chintall echoed Kilpatrick's sentiments, and said they were glad to see their fellow Republican's change of heart.
“We believe that it's really positive that he's putting the people of West Deptford before any of his personal reasons for writing that letter,” Cianfarini said. “We need to be able to work together and get the objectives done.”
The two candidates met with Kilpatrick recently to talk about the concerns he expressed in the original statement and to go over the similarities between their ideals, and Chintall said they made progress and called the meeting encouraging.
“There's room for disagreement," Chintall said. “I think he just made an error in judgement."
Local Republican chair Joann Priga said it couldn't have been easy for Kilpatrick to step up and issue the retraction.
“I think what (Kilpatrick) did was courageous,” she said. “I applaud the young man.”
West Deptford Democratic chair Gerald White, however, called the retraction “hollow,” and said it smacked of pressure from the county Republican Party to put up a unified front ahead of next week's election.
“Sean is a sincere young man who spoke the truth when he said Mr. Cianfarini and Mr. Chintall could not be trusted by West Deptford residents,” White said in a brief statement. “Now he has modified that statement, but he has still not endorsed his own party's candidates.”