Rockaway Township Republicans voted to send three names to the Township Council to succeed Mayor Michael Dachisen, who died on August 15.
The local GOP picked Councilman Michael Puzio, former Councilman Paul Minenna, and Adam Salberg to move forward. They defeated three other candidates: Kent Baez, Robin Shaw and Jon Saucers. A seventh candidate dropped out on Sunday.
The council can pick one of the three candidates. If they don’t act, the county committee may fill the vacancy. Voters will pick a new mayor in a November special election to fill the remaining fourteen months of Dachisen’s term.
The Republican and Democratic county committees will vote to select candidates to run in the special election.
Puzio endorsed Democrat Mikie Sherrill for Congress in New Jersey’s 11th district on August 8. If he receives party backing for the special — some say he is the front runner — he would be running on a ticket with Assemblyman Jay Webber, Sherrill’s Republican opponent.
The council is not scheduled to meet until September 13.
Minenna lost his council seat in the 2015 GOP primary.
Council President Jeremy Jedynak became acting mayor following Dachisen’s death. He was not a candidate for the interim post.
The county committee meeting was held behind closed doors, as members of the public and the media were asked to leave.
“It’s closed to the public,” Republican Municipal Chairman Daniel Anello told the New Jersey Globe. “County Committee and invited guests only.”