Salem County Freeholder Melissa DeCastro will seek re-election as a Democrat this fall on a ticket with 2017 candidate Jesse Stemberger, according to Democratic County Chairman Steven Caltabiano.
DeCastro, elected as a Republican in 2015, switched parties last December, flipping control of the freeholder board from 3-2 Republican to 3-2 Democrat.
The county Democratic organization will make a formal endorsement at their convention this Saturday.
For the first time since 2006, Democrats will mount a challenge to GOP Sheriff Chuck Miller. Their candidate is Bob Gant, the president of the Salem County Fraternal Order of Police.
Stemberger could benefit from a tradition of candidates losing a Salem County election before winning one. He ran for a two-year unexpired term in 2017 and lost to incumbent Scott Griscom by 849 votes.
Republican Julie Acton lost a bid for surrogate in 2005 and won her freeholder race in 2006. Laury was defeated for freeholder in 2008 and was elected in 2009. Republican Bob Vanderslice ran unsuccessfully in 2010 and won in 2011; he was ousted in 2017 by Democrat Charles Hassler, who lost in 2015. Republican Doug Painter lost in 2013 and won in 2014; he lost his seat when voters reduced the size of the freeholder board from seven to five.
Stemberger, a teacher and tennis coach in Woodstown, is the son of Elmer Mayor Joseph Stemberger.
Salem Republicans picked their candidates at a convention on Saturday. Three-term incumbent Ben Laury will seek re-election on a ticket with political newcomer Mickey Ostrum, an obstetrician.