TRENTON — Gov. Chris Christie nominated Cape May County Democratic Party Chairman Jeffrey Sutherland on Thursday to serve as the county’s next prosecutor.
If he is confirmed by the state Senate, Sutherland would take over from acting Prosecutor Rob Johnson. Robert Taylor retired as county prosecutor in September after turning 70, the maximum age allowed for the position.
Sutherland, of Ocean City, is a lawyer with a practice in Linwood. He took over as county party chairman last year and has led an effort to re-establish Democratic Clubs in many towns in Cape May County, an area that tends to lean Republican.
Sutherland declined comment on his nomination, saying he would prefer to wait until the nomination process is complete before speaking publicly.
While the governor nominates county prosecutors to their five-year terms, decisions are normally approved by the state senator or senators who represent the county under a longstanding policy called senatorial courtesy.
State Sen. Jeff Van Drew, D-Cape May, Cumberland, Atlantic, who represents all of Cape May County, said he recommended Sutherland.
“I am sure he is going to do a fine job,” Van Drew said in an interview. “He has a broad scope of knowledge.”
Van Drew praised Sutherland’s temperament and outlook. He also said Sutherland has a lot of experience in the courtroom.