A township attorney will challenge the Republican candidate for mayor in Toms River this November, the Toms River Democratic organization announced Thursday afternoon.
Jonathan Z. Petro, a co-managing partner at the law firm of Carluccio, Leone, Dimon, Doyle & Sacks in Toms River, will seek to replace three-term Republican Thomas Kelaher, who has declined to seek re-election. The Republican organization has favored former Ocean County Prosecutor Joseph D. Coronato for the mayoral seat but there are challenges from incumbent council members Maurice “Mo” Hill and Dan Rodrick.
Along with Petro’s candidacy, the Democrats have decided on a council slate that will include Michele Williams, a Toms River school board member and former principal at St. Joseph Grade School; Karin K. Sage, an attorney and shareholder on the Business and Commercial Litigation team at Wilentz, Goldman & Spitzer law firm in Woodbridge; and Drew Boyle, a math teacher in Brick who holds a master degree in educational administration and supervision from Rutgers University.
In the last Toms River council race, Democrats won three of four available seats, though Rodrick – one of the winners – later joined the Republican majority after decrying Gov. Phil Murphy’s cuts to the township’s school funding.
No Democrats filed to run for mayor in 2015. But before Kelaher, Democrat Paul Brush served as the township’s first elected mayor following a change to the township’s form of government.