Staff Writer

WEST CAPE MAY — The three challengers in the Borough Commission race have declined to participate in a candidates forum to be moderated by the politically neutral League of Women Voters of Cape May County.

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The forum sponsored by the Business Association of West Cape May would have been the only chance for voters to see all six candidates for the three commission seats together at the same time.

The incumbents, Mayor Pam Kaithern, Commissioner Peter Burke and Commissioner Carol Sabo, all accepted the invitation.

“How else do you get your views, goals and objectives out to the community? The league agreed to be the moderator. The West Cape May Business Association would sponsor it. We said right away, ‘absolutely,’ and we gave them several dates,” Kaithern said.

Challengers Stephanie LaTorre, John Francis and Dave Wilburn declined to participate, said West Cape May Business Association President Bill Causey.

LaTorre said the challengers are concentrating on going door to door and contacting voters directly to let them know “what we stand for.” She said the group had qualms about the forum and wants to make sure its campaign does not provoke anything.

“We’re not politicians,” said LaTorre. “It didn’t work out time-wise and the specific questions in a written format never came to us so we knew how the whole thing worked. None of us ever participated in something like that, so we had no understanding,” LaTorre said.

The election on Nov. 5 is for all three seats on the Borough Commission for four-year terms. The borough only has one election every four years.

There are some upcoming opportunities to meet candidates. The incumbents are hosting an event Sunday between 6:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. at the Bella Vida Café on Broadway. “Desserts and coffee will be offered along with free-flowing discussion,” stated their news release on the event.

Francis is one of the speakers on Monday night at a “water rally” that will be held at the Cape May VFW Hall on Congress Street between 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. Water losses in the borough have been a campaign issue. There will be light refreshments and a cash bar.

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