Gov. Phil Murphy swore in Hopewell Township officials Thursday evening, officially bringing the town under unanimous Democratic rule.
“I’m a proud Democrat, there are a lot of proud democrats in this room, but this is about service,” Murphy said. “When you swear folks in, folks who take the risk, no matter what party they’re in, to run for office, it’s not easy.”
The Township Committee reappointed Mayor Kristin McLaughlin Thursday. She won a second term in November.
Committeewoman Courtney Peters-Manning defeated incumbent Committeeman John Hart in 2019, ousting the last Republican member of the township committee.
While Murphy attends many such ceremonies at this time of the year, McLaughlin’s swearing-in was a little more personal.
The mayor’s daughter, Megan McLaughlin, worked on Murphy’s 2017 gubernatorial campaign. She worked for the Democratic State Committee and is now the tri-state finance director for Joe Biden’s presidential campaign.
“She joined my campaign when it was cold dark and lonely,” Murphy said. “Even some family members wouldn’t have stood alongside me, but Megan chose to, so I’m forever indebted.”
The event drew some other prominent Democrats, including Democratic State Chairman John Currie, Mercer County Chairwoman Janice Mironov, Assemblyman Anthony Verrelli, Assemblywoman Verlina Reynolds-Jackson and State Sen. Shirley Turner, as well as a slew of local elected officials.
Peters-Manning’s victory makes Hightstown Councilman Lee Stults the only Republican elected in a partisan race in the entirety of Mercer County.
Though Stult’s seat is up for a race next year, Mironov isn’t lending an undue excess of focus to that race.
“We work hard in all the towns to support all of our candidates,” she said. “We did that in Hightstown this year as well as all the other towns that had any contest, and we will continue to support Democratic candidates actively in Hightstown.”