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AND THEN THERE WERE TWO

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Local Republicans Monday night disclosed the names of three possible replacements for Kaye Ernst, who quit her council seat earlier this month after little more than a year in office.

But by the time Councilman John Curley identified the three at a regular council meeting, one of them had already bailed.

Curley identified his party’s choices as Grace Cangemi, who narrowly missed winning a seat in the November election; Stephen Fitzpatrick, a regular at council sessions who has been critical of the Democratic majority’s campaign fundraising and record-keeping; and Anthony Tamburri, a son-in-law of the late mayor and Judge John Arnone.

Curley described all three as “articulate, intelligent and passionate.”

It turned out, though, that even before Curley spoke, Tamburri’s passion had faded, and he’d decided he didn’t want the job after all.

Tamburri, who wasn’t present at the council meeting, told redbankgreen afterward that he’d had second thoughts based on family concerns.

He said he’d relayed his change of heart by e-mail to former councilwoman and now-Assemblywoman Jennifer Beck, who he said had been his “contact through the whole process” during which he was courted.

“Wasn’t she there?” he asked.

She was not.

Probably a moot point anyway. Because of her close brush with electoral victory, Cangemi is clearly the front runner. She missed out capturing the seat won by council newcomer Michael DuPont by a couple of dozen votes.

Cangemi also has the endorsement of Curley, the council’s sole Republican at the moment. As part of a ticket that also included council candidate David Pallister, Curley came up short in his bid to become mayor.

The council now has 30 days to select from among the GOP nominees.

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