ATLANTIC CITY — Local Republicans have endorsed incumbent Don Guardian as the party’s mayoral candidate in this year’s election.

The Atlantic City Republican County Committee picked Guardian over perennial mayoral challenger Joseph Polillo in a 5-2 secret-ballot vote Saturday, committee Chairman Jesse Kurtz said. Three members did not vote.

Guardian and his council at-large running mates — Ron Bailey, Stacey Kammerman and Paul Tonacci — will be the Column A Republican candidates in the June primary.

“Four years ago, I received the Atlantic City Republican County Committee endorsement, and today they continue to show their unwavering support for me and my administration,” Guardian said in a statement.

Polillo said Monday he expected the committee to back Guardian, since he’s the incumbent.

“But at least as a citizen I stepped up to do something,” he said. “It was worth it to me.”

Polillo, who has run for mayor several times since 1990, said he still hasn’t decided whether he’ll challenge Guardian in the Republican primary, but said he would attend the Atlantic County Republican Convention on Saturday to “see what goes on.”

Atlantic City Republican Club Chairman Mike Lopez thanked the committee and Polillo for participating in the candidate screening process.

“Mayor Guardian has worked hard over the past four years to rebuild our city, and I look forward to him serving four more years as our mayor,” Lopez said.

Council President Marty Small, Councilman Frank Gilliam and Fareed Abdullah are facing off in the Democratic primary for mayor.

Contact: 609-272-7215 CHetrick@pressofac.com Twitter @_Hetrick

Covered high school sports for The Philadelphia Inquirer. Graduated Rowan University in 2014.

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