Atlantic City voters have sent a Republican to the mayor's office for the first time in more than 20 years, and Governor Chris Christie couldn't be happier about the change in leadership.

Don Guardian pulled off the state's biggest upset Tuesday night by defeating Lorenzo Langford in a city where registered Democrats outnumber Republicans 9-to-1.

Atlantic City Mayor-elect Don Guardian
Atlantic City Mayor-elect Don Guardian (NBC 40)

Guardian said his main priorities for Atlantic City will be the main concerns he encountered through visits with voters during his campaign.

"If you were a homeowner, taxes were number one - too high," Guardian said. "And then safety was a concern just about everywhere."

The 60-year-old, openly-gay Republican told Townsquare Media about his hopes of developing a closer relationship with the city's struggling casinos, which have been putting a dent in city revenue through successful tax appeals.

Another relationship he wishes to mend is the bond between Mayor and Governor.

Governor Christie and Atlantic City's newly-elected mayor have never met, but the Governor has not had the healthiest of relationships with Langford. The two have been at odds over a number of issues, including the way Langford handled evacuations ahead of Superstorm Sandy.

"I'm grateful that Lorenzo Langford is gone," Christie said this week. "I think he's been a negative force for Atlantic City."

As head of Atlantic City's special improvement district for 20 years, Guardian said his career has prepared him greatly to take on the mayoral role.

Guardian sees his job as an eight-year mission, and one that he hopes will end with his retirement in Atlantic City.

"I'm a little bit selfish," Guardian joked. "As I'm building this a better place for my family, I'm building this a better place for the families of everyone in Atlantic City."


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