Scotch Plains Deputy Mayor Josh Losardo and his council running mate will likely oust Mayor Al Smith and the one other Republican left on the town’s council.
Losardo leads Smith 4,856 votes to 3,582.
Smith ran alongside Councilman Ted Spera, while Losardo ran with social worker Ellen Zimmerman.
Zimmerman leads Spera 5,125 to 3,254.
The campaign in the Union County town of about 24,000 was defined by its civility. The candidates liked each other and had largely worked in concert on the council despite Democrats’ 3-2 majority.
Downtown redevelopment was the race’s lone point of friction. Smith wanted to stay in office to deal with the process, which has dragged longer than he expected, and to simmer down racial tensions over police killings of unarmed black Americans and a statue of Christopher Columbus.
The challenger wanted to first move the Scotch Plains municipal complex out of its prime downtown location and bring a local amusement and some other properties with tax exemptions fully into the town’s tax base.