A direct run-off between a pair on independents and two senior Arun District Council Conservatives is set to take place in Aldwick next month.
Hugh Coster and Tony Dixon are the only two candidates who are standing in Aldwick East against council leader Gill Brown and Trevor Bence, cabinet member for residential services.
All district council seats are up for election, with voters going to the polls on Thursday May 2.
Mrs Brown has been a district councillor since 1991 and leader of the authority since 2006.
At the last council election in 2015 both Mr Bence and Mrs Brown were easily elected, with the UKIP candidate finishing in third place in front of independent and Lib Dem challengers.
Mr Dixon argued that the Tories had become complacent given the number of safe seats on the council and argued that a fresh start is needed.
He added: “It’s time to elect councillors that will put the needs of the local community first - not a political party.”
Mr Coster, who is deputy chairman of the Bognor Regis Civic Society, added: “I am standing, along with Tony Dixon, because we have both had long experience of dealing with Arun District Council and we have been continually disappointed at the poor leadership decisions and almost total lack of public engagement.”
He continued: “We are standing as independents so that the public will have a clear choice as to whether they wish to see politics from elsewhere dominating local decisions, or whether they wish for a new era of independent local people making local decisions.”