Blomkvest, Hayes seek GOP nod for freeholder

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Members of the Cape May County Republican Committee will meet Jan. 30 to decide who will replace Sue Sheppard on the Board of Freeholders. That person will most likely be Freeholder Director Gerald Thornton’s running mate when he seeks reelection in the fall.

So far, two people have put their names forward for the nomination, Marie Hayes of Ocean City and former Lower Township councilman Arthur “Stig” Blomkvest.

According to Thornton, committee members will cast secret ballots with a voting machine, as has been the process since Michael Donohue took over as the county Republican leader in 2010.

This week, Thornton said he will not back either candidate before the committee makes its choice.

“I have really stayed out of it as much as possible,” Thornton said.

Blomkvest formerly served as deputy mayor for Lower Township, and filled an unexpired term in 2001. He represented the township’s 3rd Ward from 2003 until 2007.

He had expressed interest in running for freeholder in 2011, when in a similar process the county party backed Wildwood amusement park owner Will Morey and Upper Township Committeewoman Kristine Gabor in the primary. The two went on to win seats in the General Election without opposition from Democrats.

At one point, there was an informal agreement that Ocean City would have a seat on the county governing body, but at this point, there are no Ocean City representatives. Sue Sheppard, a former Ocean City councilwoman, resigned her seat on the board after she was elected county surrogate, replacing longtime Surrogate Bob Hentges.

Hayes did not immediately respond to a request for comment for this story.

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