WEST MILFORD Vivienne Erk and Mike Hensley were the big winners in the township's Republican primary Tuesday, handily beating their Golden Rule Republican counterparts JoAnn Blom and Marilyn Lichtenberg.
Erk and Hensley had the backing of the township Regular Republican Organization. Blom and Lichtenberg ran against the organization, putting up a slate of County Committee candidates for control over choosing future candidates and the committee chairperson.
Both Erk and Hensley are longtime residents of West Milford who have been involved in the Republican organization for many years. This was the first time either ran for elected office. Each grabbed over 31 percent of the vote to Lichtenberg's 20 percent and Blom's 17 percent
Hensley, 37, is a personal trainer and substitute teacher in the West Milford School District. Erk, 58, is a paralegal for the past 20 years who completed her bachelor's degree while raising her family.
They squared off in the primary against two other long-time residents in Blom and Lichtenberg, 64. Blom has been a teacher in the West Milford district for 30 years, while Lichtenberg is an avid volunteer who has made West Milford home for 50 years. She served on the council from 2008 through 2010. She did not get the nod from the organization to run for reelection in 2010 and forced a primary, which she lost.
In November, Erk and Hensley will face the Democratic candidates, David C. Ofshinsky and John D. Richards, who faced no challenge in their primary Tuesday.