Cape May Republicans could make history this year by electing its first Black county commissioner.
Marie Hayes is trading her county commissioner seat to run for Surrogate. The post is open for the second time in as many years after Dean Marcolongo, re-elected last November, resigned to become a Superior Court judge.
Cape May Republicans endorsed Melanie Collette, the vice chair of the county GOP organization and a local radio talk show host, to run on a ticket with incumbent Will Morey. She will replace Jeff Pierson, who is not seeking re-election to the post he’s held since 2016.
Upper Township Committeewoman Kim Hayes and former Upper Township Mayor Rich Palombo had sought party support for county commissioner; Matthew Davidson, a former assistant Atlantic County Prosecutor, had asked to be considered for surrogate.
“There is much more to our candidates than race or gender,” said Michael Donohue, the Republican county chairman. “They are all smart, hard-working, and focused on doing all they can to help working families.”
If Hayes wins the surrogate race, Cape May Republicans will pick her replacement.
Democrats have not won a countywide election in Cape May since Jeff Van Drew, then a Democrat and now a Republican congressman, ousted incumbent Freeholder Mark Videtto in 2000.
Editor’s note: an earlier version of this story mistakenly stated that Collette was seeking Hayes’ seat.