The Burlington County Republican Committee is endorsing lawyer and Navy SEAL Ryan Peters to run with Katie Gibbs for two seats on the county's freeholder board.

Peters, a Hainesport resident who served combat missions in Iraq and Afghanistan, will replace Mount Holly Mayor Rich DiFolco on the GOP ticket in the June primary, according to a news release by the Committee. DiFolco dropped out of the race last week, saying he wanted to serve the remaining two years of his term on the Mount Holly Township Council.

Peters is a lieutenant commander in the Navy Reserve, assigned to SEAL Team 18, the release said. He also is an associate with Pepper Hamilton L.L.P. in Philadelphia focusing on commercial litigation and white-collar crimes.

"Public service is incredibly important to me, and I am honored to have the opportunity to run for freeholder," Peters said in a statement.

He graduated cum laude from Rutgers School of Law in Camden in 2012, where he was editor-in-chief of the Rutgers Journal of Law and Religion, president of the Student Bar Association, and a legislative fellow at the Eagleton Institute of Politics. Peters also serves on the board of directors of Liberty USO of Pennsylvania and South Jersey.

Gibbs, of Maple Shade, works in business development for the Engineers Labor-Employer Cooperative, a collaborative trust that represents Local 825 Operating Engineers.

The two are expected to vie with incumbents Aimee Belgard and Joanne Schwartz, Democrats who were elected to the board three years ago. Belgard, a lawyer from Edgewater Park and a former councilwoman there, ran unsuccessfully for Congress against Republican Tom MacArthur last November. Schultz is a nursing-home administrator from Southampton Township.

The filing deadline to run in the June 2 primary is the end of this month. - Jan Hefler