GOP-endorsed candidates won the Republican primary for two seats on the Gloucester County Board of Chosen Freeholders on Tuesday against a crowded field of challengers.
Larry Wallace, who was defeated in last year's primary, and newcomer Vincent Nestore Jr. bested six opponents on three other slates.
In recent months, the many candidates had jousted over which were true conservatives, and touted their respective alliances with the party organization; a tenacious ousted GOP chairwoman; and groups such as the tea party.
In November, Wallace and Nestore will face Democrats Heather Simmons of Glassboro and Robert Zimmerman of Mantua Township.
The Democratic primary was uncontested.
The seven-member freeholder board has been controlled by Democrats for more than 20 years, but Republicans think voter unrest has created a rare opportunity.
Incumbent Democrats Joseph A. Brigandi Jr. and Jean DuBois decided not to run again, citing personal reasons.
"The voters made their decision loud and clear," said Wallace, a small-business owner from Woolwich, after unofficial votes were tallied.
Wallace and Nestore beat their closest rivals - Ron Brittin and Tony Celeste - by a nearly 2-1 ratio.
"All Republicans must join together under one tent and unite in one common goal, and that is to end the all-Democratic freeholder board," Wallace said.
Nestore, an eighth-grade teacher and soccer coach from Deptford, said he was honored by the victory and hoped to become "the voice of the voters" in November. He, too, was hopeful that county Republicans could overcome their differences.
"We really don't have a choice," he said. "For the survival of the party . . . sometimes you have to swallow your pride."
In addition to Brittin, of Mantua, who was a 2009 freeholder candidate, and newcomer Celeste, of Monroe, the two men beat Rose Yerka of Woodbury Heights and Brandon Gurk of Mantua.
Yerka and Gurk were allied with Loran Oglesby, who was ousted as GOP chairwoman last summer when Bill Fey beat her in a bitter fight that fractured the party.
They also defeated Andy Savicky of Glassboro, a 2007 freeholder candidate who ran Tuesday with Patrick Schubert Sr., an unsuccessful candidate last year for Paulsboro Borough Council.