Arlene Testa won the Republican organization line for mayor of Point Pleasant Beach last night, giving Paul Kanitra a win in a hotly-contested race to succeed him as he prepares to move to the New Jersey State Assembly.
Testa, a councilwoman, defeated Council President Douglas Vitale by a vote of 28 to 16, with former Mayor Steven Reid finishing third with 13 votes.
Kanitra, trading his mayoral post for a 10th district legislative seat, had backed Testa. Vitale had the support of Ocean County GOP Chairman George Gilmore.
In the race for two borough council seats, Art Gant (40) and incumbent Caryn Byrnes (36) defeated David Betten (17). Councilman Thomas Migut is not seeking re-election.
Testa will become Point Pleasant Beach’s first woman mayor if she wins the general election. Only Brick, Beach Haven, and Tuckerton have women mayors in Ocean County.
Earlier this month, Kanitra and incumbent Greg McGuckin (R-Toms River) scored upset victories at the Ocean GOP convention to become the organization-backed candidates for Assembly.
McGuckin came in first with 63 votes, while Kanitra finished second with 50, just barely over the threshold to avoid a runoff. Former Brick Councilwoman Ruthanne Scaturro got 35 votes, and Toms River school board member Ashley Lamb got 25; Scutarro and Lamb both had the backing of the county screening committee.
In 2021, Republican Jack Ciattarelli carried Point Pleasant Beach by a 69%-31% margin against Gov. Phil Murphy. Republicans have a 6-0 majority on the borough council.