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Greenwich Township Mayor George Shivery.

Gloucester GOP candidates: N.J. should reopen

Freeholder contenders say Murphy should stop picking winners and losers

By David Wildstein, May 26 2020 12:06 pm

The Republican candidates for Gloucester County freeholder — George W. Shivery, Jr., Chris Konawel and Nick DeSilvio – think Gov. Phil Murphy should stop picking winners and losers and smartly reopen businesses.

“Let commonsense prevail and smartly get the state reopened,” the GOP slate said.

Gloucester is the only Democratic-controlled county in New Jersey that went for Donald Trump in 2016 and some Republicans think it could be a battleground county this fall.

“While we acknowledge there has been some progress made toward reopening, far too many folks are still out of work, still having issues with unemployment and struggling to pay their bills, as a state we have to do better.” Said Shivery, the mayor of Greenwich Township.  “We can open more businesses. For example, barber shops and beauty salons could safely reopen while following social distancing guidelines by moving chairs further apart and wearing masks. These businesses are licensed and sanitary, sitting in a barber’s chair you can see equipment, combs, scissors and such, soaking in disinfectant.”

Trump carried the county by 674 votes in 2016, and Republican U.S. Senate candidate Bob Hugin won it in 2018 by 3,787 votes, a three-point margin.

Still, winning freeholder seats is an uphill battle.  Republicans haven’t won a freeholder seat in Gloucester since taking two seats in 2009.  Those seats flipped back to Democrats three years later.

Democrats have a 7-0 majority on the Gloucester freeholder board.  Gloucester has 34,518 more Democrats than Republicans.

Incumbents Heather Simmons, Lyman Barnes and Jim Jefferson are up this year.  Democrats have not yet announced their slate of candidates.

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