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

South Brunswick-Cranbury

Police Blotter

South Brunswick and Cranbury Police Blotter

August 9, 2017

Sponsored by Reilly's Collision Center in Monmouth Junction. Click here and scroll down for the latest updates and alerts from South Brunswick and Cranbury Police.

See the most recent messages from South Brunswick Twp Police Department, powered by Nixle.

Rutgers voices support for proposed state budget

March 14, 2018

NEW BRUNSWICK - Rutgers University officials have often been wary of the governor's annual budget message, wondering what type of budget cuts the university may sustain and how it would potentially impact tuition and the overall quality of education.

This budget message, delivered March 13, appears to be a sigh of relief.

Pete McDonough, Vice President of External Affairs at ...

Middlesex Democrats Endorse Menendez, Pallone, Watson Coleman, Rios and Narra

METUCHEN - The Middlesex County Democratic Organization today endorsed Robert Menendez for Senate, Representatives Frank Pallone, Jr. (NJ-6) and Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ-12), Freeholder Director Ronald Rios and Freeholder Shanti Narra for the Board of Chosen Freeholders.  Over 300 committee people came out to participate in the convention. 

“From Washington to New ...

Nationally Recognized Golf Management Firm Billy Casper Golf to Oversee Three Middlesex County Golf Courses

CRANBURY - The Middlesex County Improvement Authority (MCIA) has selected innovative golf management firm Billy Casper Golf (BCG) to manage clubhouse operations at Middlesex County’s three golf courses in north central New Jersey.

One of the largest privately-owned golf course management companies in the U.S., BCG will use its proprietary staff training, marketing and other ...

In Cold Blood by Truman Capote

In Cold Blood by Truman Capote (Random House, 1965)


In Cold Blood is, quite simply, the grand-daddy of true crime writing, dubbed by Capote, himself, as the first non-fiction novel (although Norman Mailer argued the point when he published The Executioner's Song in 1979.) The conditions under which I read In Cold Blood for the first time were pretty weird, which was another ...

Ian Hockley Visits New Jersey to Introduce Program to Empower Youth

This week I am taking a departure from book reviewing to share an important program that has been introduced to New Jersey this week by Mr. Ian Hockley, founder of the Dylan's Wings of Change Foundation. On December 14, 2012, Hockley's five year old son, an autistic child named Dylan, was gunned down in his classroom in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. Dylan, a shy and adorable ...


March 16, 2018

WASHINGTON, D.C., March 16, 2018 – Despite her rhetoric, U.S. Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman, D-12, failed Wednesday to deliver on her promise to make schools safer for our children.

The two-term congressperson was one of only 10 representatives that voted “nay” Wednesday afternoon on the STOP School Violence Act of 2018.

The bill passed the U.S. House of Representatives on a ...

Republican congressional candidate Daryl Kipnis For Congress Campaign Kickoff Reception

Come enjoy an evening on Farrington Lake in North Brunswick in support of the effort to elect Daryl in NJ’s 12th Congressional District and send A Force For Freedom to Washington.

*Dinner & Open Bar*

7-9 p.m.

Monday, April 9th, 2018
130 Washington Place
North Brunswick, 08902

$100 Ticket Price
$250 Silver Sponsor
$500 Gold Sponsor
$1,000 Platinum Sponsor
$2,700 ...

Celebrate National Ag Day at the Middlesex County EARTH Center

EARTH CENTER, NORTH BRUNSWICK, NJ - Consider this: just about everything we eat, wear and use comes from agriculture. That is why America’s farmers and their crops are celebrated each year on National Ag Day, which falls this year on March 20.


To honor this day, the Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Middlesex County has planned a new seminar entitled The State of ...