Election 2016

Democratic freeholder candidate John Amenhauser (left) Cape May County Democratic Chairperson Jeff Sutherland (center) and Middle Township mayor Michael Clark, check election results during a gathering at the Rio Station in Rio Grande. Turnout for this years national, state and local elections was brisk as voters took to the polls to cast their ballots. Tuesday Nov. 8, 2016. (Dale Gerhard / Staff Photographer)

Dale Gerhard

TRENTON — Cape May County's Democratic Party Chairman, nominated by Gov. Chris Christie in November, is set to be sworn in as county prosecutor Thursday. 

Jeffrey Sutherland is taking 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.

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