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RED BANK: DI SOMMA QUITS AS GOP CHAIR

taylor whelan disomma 112015Sean Di Somma, right, with successful council candidates Mark Taylor, left, and Mike Whelan last November. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03Sean Di Somma won’t be staying on as Red Bank Republican chairman after all, according to a published report.

Di Somma informed Monmouth County GOP officials by email Thursday that he won’t seek a second term, which was to have begun this month, according to the report by More Monmouth Musings, a conservative publication based in Highlands.

MMM’s Art Gallagher reports that Michael Clancy, whose failed Red Bank board of education candidacy last fall was studded with controversy over his eligibility to run as well as his positions, is hoping to succeed Di Somma.

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RED BANK: DI SOMMA TO STAY AS GOP CHAIR

disomma 1103152Sean Di Somma on election night 2015. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03Sean Di Somma, whose first two years as Red Bank Republican chairman have been marked by both the party’s resurgence and bitter infighting, will stay on in the post, he tells redbankgreen.

Though he said he had told party loyalists on Sunday that he would forego a second term in order to devote more time to his wife and infant daughter, Di Somma said Wednesday that calls by “internet trolls” and “local Democrats” for his resignation convinced him to stay for a second term, which begins in June, and through the November election.

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RED BANK: GOP KICKS OFF EARLY CAMPAIGN

whelan taylor 052715Mark Taylor, right, and running mate Mike Whelan were joined by GOP bigwigs for a campaign kickoff on Monmouth Street Wednesday night. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

After a quarter-century in the minority, will Red Bank Republicans be able to harness their momentum of the last two elections to take control of the borough government?

Getting an early jump on this year’s race for two council seats, the local GOP trotted out some big local names for a kickoff event Wednesday night.

And they held it out on Monmouth Street, just feet away from both borough hall and new parking kiosks they believe symbolize the “arrogance” of Democrats, who now hold a 4-2 majority on the council as well as the mayoralty.

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RED BANK: GOP TAPS NEWCOMERS FOR RACE

taylor whelan 033015 1Mark Taylor, left, and Mike Whelan, center, with GOP Chairman Sean Di Somma outside borough hall Monday night. Democrats Mike DuPont and Art Murphy, below, on election night 2012. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

dupont murphy 110612Red Bank Republicans, hoping to leverage gains in the last two municipal elections, have set their sights on control of the borough council for the first time in 25 years.

And as in the last election, when all-but-unknown Linda Schwabenbauer emerged as the top vote-getter in a field of four candidates, they’re putting their bets on political newcomers.

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RED BANK: IT’S SCHWABENBAUER & ZIPPRICH

Election_2014_Plainrb dems 110414Councilmembers Ed Zipprich, center, and Juanita Lewis with former Councilman Ivan Polonsky, right, at Democratic HQ Tuesday night. Linda Schwabenbauer, below. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

linda schwabenbauer 082714Linda Schwabenbauer only got into the Red Bank council race in August, and didn’t start campaigning until mid-September.

Though she’s lived in town for 10 years, the Republican also had the handicap of being an unknown political entity.

“I’d never heard of her,” said former mayor and local Democratic party sage Ed McKenna, “and I don’t know anyone who had.”

And yet, even as her opponents – and perhaps some supporters – struggled to pronounce her name, Schwabenbauer came away as the leading vote-getter in Tuesday’s election, edging incumbent Ed Zipprich by nine votes and knocking out incumbent Democrat Juanita Lewis, according to the GOP.

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RED BANK: GOP APPEARS TO ADD TO ’13 GAIN

Election_2014_Plainrb gop 110414 1Republican Linda Schwabenbauer, left, with state Senator Jennifer Beck and running mate Sean Di Somma, far right, as returns were tallied Tuesday night. Below, Ed Zipprich, seen at right through a ladder at Democratic headquarters with his husband, J.P. Nicolaides and former Mayor Ed McKenna, at left. (Photo above by John T. Ward, below by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

110414 election1One year after narrowly regaining a toehold on Red Bank government, Republicans will soon have a second representative on the six-member council.

Or so it appeared late Tuesday night.

GOP newcomer Linda Schwabenbauer and Democratic incumbent Ed Zipprich were neck-and-neck in the race for two council seats. And though the two parties differed on vote totals, both candidates appeared to have outpolled Zipprich running mate Juanita Lewis by about two dozen votes.

The clear loser, for the second year in a row, was Republican Sean Di Somma, who conceded defeat early in the evening.

Mayor Pasquale Menna, a Democrat, was elected to a third four-year term. He was unopposed on the ballot.

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LIVE: HOUSE RACES ACROSS THE STATE

Beginning shortly after 8 p.m. Tuesday, NJ Spotlight and NJ News Commons will begin posting results for congressional races across the state. For up-to-the minute results, click on a district; you can zoom in and move the map around.

These results are preliminary as precincts report. The colors on the map indicate which party is leading by district: red for Republicans and blue for Democrats. An asterisk (*) indicates an incumbent.
For results for in the race for U.S. Senate and the statewide ballot questions, click here (Map courtesy of NJ Spotlight and NJ News Commons)

RED BANK: ELECTION DAY 2014

RB 2014 ballotRed Bank voters will choose two council members from among four candidates. (Click to enlarge)

Election_2014_PlainWill voters tick down along party lines? Mix & match?

Election season 2014 culminates Tuesday with four candidates on the ballot for two Red Bank council seats, plus an incumbent mayor running unopposed.

redbankgreen will have results as soon as they’re available after polls close at 8 p.m. Meantime, here’s a refresher on the process.

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RED BANK: Q&A WITH SEAN DI SOMMA

Election_2014_QAdi somma 102814Republican council candidate Sean Di Somma. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

In Tuesday’s election for Red Bank council, incumbents Juanita Lewis and Ed Zipprich, both Democrats, face Republicans Sean Di Somma and Linda Schwabenbauer. Here are Di Somma’s answers to questions sent to all four candidates by redbankgreen.

Name: Sean Patrick Di Somma

Age: 32

Where did you grow up? Bergen County, NJ

How long have you been a resident of Red Bank? Almost 3 years

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RED BANK: Q&A WITH JUANITA LEWIS

Election_2014_QA juanita lewis 101308Democrat Juanita Lewis has been on the council since 2009. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

In Tuesday’s election for Red Bank council, incumbents Juanita Lewis and Ed Zipprich, both Democrats, face Republicans Sean Di Somma and Linda Schwabenbauer. Here are Lewis’s answers to questions sent to all four candidates by redbankgreen.

Name: Juanita Lewis

Age: 48

Where did you grow up? I was born and raised in Red Bank.

How long have you been a resident of Red Bank? All of my life, except when I went to college, graduate school and when I worked overseas for one year.

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RED BANK: Q&A WITH PASQUALE MENNA

Election_2014_QApasquale menna 102814 2Pasquale Menna, a Democrat, was elected mayor in 2006 after 18 years on the borough council. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

In Tuesday’s election, Red Bank Mayor Pasquale Menna is running unopposed for a third four-year-term.Here are his answers to questions sent to all borough candidates by redbankgreen.

Name: Pasquale Menna

Age: 60

Where did you grow up? Italy, Montreal, Canada and Red Bank.

How long have you been a resident of Red Bank? Since 1964.

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RED BANK: Q&A WITH LINDA SCHWABENBAUER

Election_2014_QAschwabenbauer 102814Republican council candidate Linda Schwabenbauer. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

In Tuesday’s election for Red Bank council, incumbents Juanita Lewis and Ed Zipprich, both Democrats, face Republicans Sean Di Somma and Linda Schwabenbauer. Here are Schwabenbauer’s answers to questions sent to all four candidates by redbankgreen.

Name: Linda Schwabenbauer

Age: 49

Where did you grow up? Downingtown, PA

How long have you been a resident of Red Bank? Since May of 2005 – just shy of 10 years

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RED BANK: Q&A WITH ED ZIPPRICH

Election_2014_QA zipprich 011111Democrat Ed Zipprich has been on the council since 2009. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

In Tuesday’s election for Red Bank council, incumbents Juanita Lewis and Ed Zipprich, both Democrats, face Republicans Sean Di Somma and Linda Schwabenbauer. Here are Zipprich’s answers to questions sent to all four candidates by redbankgreen.

Name: Edward Zipprich

Age: 54

Where did you grow up? In a small town similar to Red Bank in Staten Island, NY

How long have you been a resident of Red Bank? 17.5 years

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RED BANK: GOP CALLS FOR TELE-DEBATE

Election_2014_wDebatesrb candidates 102814 3Republicans Linda Schwabenbauer and Sean Di Somma had a full-house audience at River Street Commons to themselves Tuesday night. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

The two Red Bank council candidates challenged the Democratic incumbents to a debate Wednesday, one day after a meet-the-candidates event at which the Dems were no-shows.

GOP contender Sean Di Somma called the absence of Juanita Lewis and Ed Zipprich “sad and shameful,” adding that they’d “pulled a fast one on Red Bank residents” by canceling at the last minute.

Zipprich told redbankgreen earlier on Tuesday that he was attending to a family medical issue, and Lewis told the Westside Community Group that she couldn’t make their Tuesday event because she was “pulled away on business,” said event moderator Amy Goldsmith.

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RED BANK: NO DEBATE AS DEMS ARE NO-SHOWS

Election_2014_wDebatesrb candidates 102814 1The River Street Commons had a full house for the event, hosted by the Westside Community Group. Alecia Wilkerson, below, asked a question from the audience. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

rb candidates 102814 2The two Republican candidates for Red Bank council in next week’s election had an open field as neither of their opponents showed up for a debate Tuesday night.

Incumbent Democrat Ed Zipprich was out of town on a family medical issue, and fellow incumbent Democrat Juanita Lewis was “called away on business,”  Westside Community Group president and event moderator Amy Goldsmith said the candidates told her.

That gave Republican challengers Sean Di Somma and Linda Schwabenbauer control of the floor at the 18th annual candidates’ night, held as always at the River Street Commons. Di Somma made frequent reference to the absences, and at one point gave away their chairs to audience members who had packed the former school gym.

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