CAMDEN, NJ – Less than 24 hours after Francisco “Frank” Moran officially left the Mayor’s Office, the city Democratic Party’s choice as his successor, Councilman Vic Carstarphen, kicked off his election campaign at Farnham Park on Saturday morning.

In a prepared statement Carstarphen said he is eager to show “the (Democratic) committee and supporters” how “we (will) embark on a new journey to lift up all city’s residents.” He pledged to “invite as many residents to the table as possible to join on us on this journey to unify the city.”

Moran’s departure from the $115,000 post – first announced in March – comes eight months short of the end of his first, four-year term. Council President Curtis Jenkins will temporarily be acting mayor until the council picks an interim mayor to serve until Dec 31. Jenkins is a likely choice.

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Meanwhile, Carstarphen faces a June 8 primary challenge from three other Democrats: Councilwoman Felisha Reyes-Morton; Elton Custis, a school advisory board member and substance abuse counselor; and Luis Quinones, a Spanish teacher at Pride Academy.

Carstarphen, 51, is a first-time candidate for elected office. He was appointed to the City Council 16 months ago to represent Ward 2. His party-backed council slate includes incumbent council members Angel Fuentes and Shelia Davis, and Nohemi Soria- Pérez, a nominee to replace Jenkins, who is not seeking re-election.

A consultant for a Cherry Hill accounting firm, Carstarphen was on the Camden Educational Foundation board of directors for over a decade. He is best known around town as a Camden High School basketball star in the mid-1980s and a three-year varsity starter at Temple University.

Moran, 52, was Camden’s 48th mayor. Before taking office in 2018, he served on the City Council from 1997-2017, including eight years as council president. 

Moran declined a request from TAPinto Camden for an in-depth interview to discuss highlights of his political career. Instead, Moran issued a prepared statement reiterating remarks from his March resignation letter.

In it, Moran said that it was a “privilege to serve as Mayor of Camden” that gave him an “opportunity to serve the great citizens of Camden faithfully while maintaining my ethics and morals.”

“I have been surrounded by an exceptional team who shared one common goal: To see Camden rise to its fullest potential.  I look forward to a healthy and restful retirement and all it has to offer, and will forever be grateful for this remarkable experience,” Moran’s statement said.

Moran was hired by the city’s public works department three decades ago after graduating from Woodrow Wilson High School. He worked his way up to eventually become Camden County’s director of public works and parks before he becoming mayor.