Democrat Lisa Crate, a two-term councilwoman, and teacher’s union leader, was sworn in tonight as the mayor of Brick after the township council picked her to replace John Ducey.
Ducey resigned yesterday after more than nine years as mayor of the state’s 13th-largest municipality following his confirmation by the State Senate to serve as a Superior Court Judge.
Last night, Brick Democrats picked Crate and two others, John Curtis, a Brick Municipal Utilities Authority commissioner, and an IBEW member, and Eileen Della Volle, a Democratic state committeewoman from Ocean County, as their three candidates for interim mayor.
The council picked Crate, who will serve until the results of a November 2023 special election are certified. She is expected to become the Democratic candidate for mayor in that contest against Assemblyman John Catalano, a local businessman, and former councilman.
The winner of that race will serve the remaining 25 months of Ducey’s term.
The local Democratic organization must hold another meeting to recommend three more names to the council to fill Crate’s now-vacant township council seat. Since Crate is up for election this year, there is no special election, and her interim successor will serve until January 1.
Crate, the Jackson Education Association president, was first elected to the council in 2015 and re-elected in 2019. She has served twice as council president.
Brick is a solidly Republican town in staunchly Republican Ocean County – Donald Trump won it with 61% of the vote in 2020 – but Ducey was popular enough locally to win three mayoral elections. He was elected in 2013 with 61%, re-elected in 2017 with 66%, and in 2021 with 63%. Also in 2021, Republican Jack Ciattarelli carried Brick by a 69%-31% margin over Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy.
Two years ago, Republican Perry Albanese clawed back one council seat, giving Democrats a 6-1 majority in a race where 732 votes separated the top vote-getter from the sixth-place finisher.