Mercer County Commissioner Nina Melker won party support for re-election on the first ballot, while three other candidates will compete in a second ballot for the seat of retiring Commissioner Andrew Koontz.
Melker received 233 votes, followed by Lawrence Councilwoman Cathleen Lewis (156), Elvin Montero (100), John Durbin (83), Yan Mei Wang (75), Kevin Norris (63), and Robin Bridges Johnson (47).
Lewis, Montero and Durbin now advance to the second ballot.
Lewis, a former mayor and party stalwart, has worked as a political operative and held a number of state government positions. She’s currently a program manager at the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities.
Montero is the deputy executive director of the Chemical Council of New Jersey and a director of the Capital City Redevelopment Corporation. An ally of Mayor Reed Gusciora, Montero ran for an at-large Trenton City Council seat in 2018 and finished 105 votes behind the winner of the third seat.
Durbin is a former Princeton Democratic municipal chairman and Princeton Community Democratic Organization chairman who has the backing of State Sen. Andrew Zwicker and Princeton Mayor Mark Freda.
Melker, a Hamilton Democrat, won a 2018 special election convention to fill the vacancy created after Anthony Verrelli (D-Hopewell) was elected to the State Assembly. She defeated Lance Lopez, a corrections officer who had led PBA Local 105. Seven Democrats had sought the seat.