Sayreville Democrats picked councilwoman Victoria Kilpatrick as their candidate for mayor, edging out the front-runner, council president Daniel Buchanan, in a vote of the local party organization.
She is now expected to face Republican Arthur Rittenhouse, a former councilman, in the general election. The Republican incumbent, Kennedy O’Brien, is not seeking re-election after 20 years as mayor.
Democrats chose Michele Maher, a recreation committee member whose grandmother drove a Sayreville school bus for 32 years, to replace Buchanan on the council.
Former councilman David McGill, who came within 273 votes of ousting O’Brien four years ago, will seek re-election.
Kilpatrick won an open council seat in 2014 by 128 votes and was re-elected in 2017 by 353 votes.
Rittenhouse lost his seat in 2016 by 1,545 votes to Democrat Ricci Melendez.
Democrats now have a 6-0 majority on the borough council after Republican councilman Pat Lembo lost his seat last year by 725 votes to Democrat Damon Enriquez.
Elections are still close in Sayreville, where Hillary Clinton outpolled Donald Trump by just 281 votes and where Phil Murphy won by 135. Republicans came within 163 votes of winning a council seat in 2017.