Republicans to pick committee candidate March 5

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MIDDLE TOWNSHIP – Middle’s Republican Committee members will decide on March 5 whom the party will back for Township Committee this year.

So far, the choice is between Melanie Collins and Vincent DePrinzio. A third choice, Carole Mattessich, said this week that she was rethinking her intention of running for Township Committee.

There’s still time for others to send a letter of interest, too, according to Ed Taylor, Middle Township Republican Leader.  They are due Feb. 25. For more information, call Taylor at 408-7429.

The three Middle Township Committee members serve staggered, three-year terms.

The Republican nominee may face Committeewoman Susan DeLanzo, whose seat is up this year. But it is not certain if she plans to run for reelection.

She did not respond to several requests for an interview in time for this story. DeLanzo is the committee’s only Democrat. Before Committeeman Tim Donohue was sworn in last year, Democrats had dominated the board for decades.

The Middle Township Republican Committee will meet at 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 5, at Cape May County’s police training academy of Cape May Court House. Thirty-four people are on the Middle Township Republican Committee, and the meeting is open to the public.

At that meeting, local Republicans will decide who has the party’s backing in the race, although it is possible for a candidate to seek the nomination in the June primary without the party’s support. 

Collins was treasurer in Mayor Dan Lockwood’s re-election campaign and is a member of the township’s Zoning Board. She also is a teacher in the Middle Township School District. She could not be reached for comment.

DePrinzio is a Vietnam War veteran and said he wants to be on Township Committee to especially help senior citizens and veterans.

The Primary Election is set for June 4, and the Democrat and Republican candidates would compete in the November General Election.

Candidates have to file with their municipalities by April 1.

Mattessich submitted a letter of intent to run on the Republican ticket but will likely pull her name, she said this week.

In an interview Tuesday, Mattessich said she works for the county in economic development and worries that could create a conflict of interest if she would be elected as a Middle Township official.

“It’s a wonderful dilemma to have, frankly,” Mattessich said.

Mattessich, a Republican, worked on campaigns to get Donohue elected and Lockwood re-elected. She is also a former Gazette reporter and a lawyer.

She said she would back the Republican candidate.

For the past four or five months, Mattessich has been an economic development facilitator for Cape May County, working with Cape May County Freeholder Will Morey.

Mattessich has been vocal about several issues in Middle Township, most recently urging township officials to hold discussions on reorganizing departments in public instead of behind closed doors. The township is looking into restructuring the public works and sewer departments and outsourcing animal control and janitorial services.

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