South Brunswick Council Looks To Appoint Chris Killmurray Mayor Tuesday Night


SOUTH BRUNSWICK, NJ – The Township Council will likely vote to appoint Deputy Mayor Chris Killmurray to the mayor’s seat Tuesday night, according to the meeting agenda released Friday.

Killmurray, a Democratic council veteran who has served several terms on the governing body, will officially become mayor should a resolution on the meeting agenda get passed by the council.

He has been filling in the position since the death of Mayor Frank Gambatese on March 25.

Sign Up for E-News

Gambatese, 81, was the longest serving mayor in township history, winning the seat initially in 2002 and then winning his next three re-election bids.

Should the council approve the resolution elevating Killmurray on Tuesday, the Democrats would then need to appoint someone to fill his vacated council seat.

According to township officials, the Democrats have 15 days to select three candidates for the seat.

The candidates would then appear before the council and one would be appointed to the seat until the November election.

In November, both the mayor’s seat and the appointed council seat would be up for election for the remaining year of the term.

The winners of that election would then stand for a vote again in 2018 when the seats are normally scheduled to be elected, officials said.

Sources say there may be as many as a dozen or so Democrats interested in filling the open seat at this point.

Republican party officials are also preparing to select two candidates to run for the seats in the general election in November.

Normally, this would have been an off-year for municipal races under the Council/Manager form of government established in 1997.

After the township switched from a township committee form, elections were held for mayor and all four council seats in 1998.

Debra Johnson became the first directly elected mayor that year and served from 1999-2002.

After bowing out following her first term, Gambatese became the Democratic candidate that year and served as mayor ever since.

The terms after the first election were staggered to be held every-other year, with each seat being a four-year term.

As well as being the longest serving mayor, Gambatese was also the first sitting mayor in township history to die while in office, sending the township into uncharted political waters.

A similar situation took place at the state legislative level right after South Brunswick became part of the 16th legislative district in 2011.

Then Republican Assemblyman Peter Biondi died just days after winning the election with GOP running mates Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli and Sen. Christopher “Kip” Bateman.

A Republican convention for the district appointed Donna Simon to Biondi’s two-year seat.

Simon then ran in a special election against Democrat Marie Corfield in 2012 for the unexpired term.

She won against Corfield again in 2013, along with Ciattarelli.

In 2015, however, Simon lost to Kingston resident, and Democrat, Andrew Zwicker by less than 80 votes.

While experts feel Bateman’s senate seat is safe for the GOP, Simon and Zwicker are teeing up for what could be a close rematch in the district this year.

Further complicating matters, new candidates will fill out the assembly race as Ciattarelli gives up his seat to run for governor.

Both sides see the 16th district race as important in state politics, giving the Democrats a solid chance to win the second assembly seat in the split district.

Voters traditionally turn out less in a year when there are no local races on the ballot, so the addition of mayoral and council races this year could put extra pressure on Republicans in the state race.

Did you like this story?

Give us your feedback at or and click here to express your support for local news today.

If you did like it, please share with your friends and followers on Facebook and Twitter, and don't forget to "Like" our Facebook Page!

Download the TAPinto App!   Click here for Android - Click here for iOS .

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

East Brunswick

Diegnan, Pinkin and Karabinchak Highlight State Support for Dismal Swamp with Environmental and Local Leaders

June 4, 2018

EDISON, NJ - State Sen. Patrick Diegnan, Assemblywoman Nancy Pinkin, and Assemblyman Robert Karabinchak were recently joined by local elected officials and environmental groups in hailing a $200,000 state appropriation championed by the 18th district legislators to complete the scope of work needed by “Dismal Swamp Preservation Act” to survey the boundaries and properly enact the ...

East Brunswick Republican Chair Jesal Amin Announces Dhar Khona to Join Council Ticket

June 15, 2018

EAST BRUNSWICK, NJ- Newly elected Republican Municipal Chairman Jesal Amin announced today that Dharmendra “Dhar” Khona will join the Republican ticket for Township Council in East Brunswick.  Khona will replace Tom Szaro on the ticket, who had to step aside for personal reasons. The remaining candidates on the ticket are Councilwoman Camille Clark and former school board ...

EBPL Open on Summer Sundays

EAST BRUNSWICK, NJ—Due to an increase in demand of library usage, East Brunswick Public Library (2 Jean Walling Civic Center Drive) is extending Sunday hours throughout July.

The library plans on using the additional hours to host more library programming and provide services to the community, including passports, access to the computer lab and EB Create makerspace, and ...

The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn

The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn (William Morrow, 2018)


A friend, whose opinion on literature I respect greatly, reported to me recently that she had just finished reading A.J. Finn's debut novel, The Woman in the Window. Of it she said, “I wish I hadn't finished it,” which I interpreted to mean, “It was so good I'm sorry that I finished it.” ...

Girl Scout Seeks Donations of Craft Items Tomorrow

June 6, 2018

Hi, EB Community, 

I am Alexandra Gonzalez. I am currently a Junior at EBHS. I am as well a Girl Scout and working on my Gold Award. I am in search of donations and would like to inform you on the issue my project will address, how you can help, and why this is important. 

The project I am working on will be impacting the Special education students in East Brunswick Public ...