LewiswinsJuanita Lewis embraces her campaign manager, Christine McKenna, after her win in Tuesday’s Red Bank Council election.

Red Bank voters skied straight down the Democratic column in Tuesday’s elections, hoping to elevate the first-ever African-American to the presidency and making the borough council into a solid, single-party affair for the first time in a decade.


Knocked aside in the process were incumbent Councilwoman Grace Cangemi, seeking her first full council term, and her running mate, John Tyler Jr.

Slated to join the council on January 1 are Ed Zipprich and Juanita Lewis, who styled themselves as “progressive Democrats” in the mold of Howard Dean.

But unlike squeakers of recent years, this race wasn’t even close. Zipprich racked up 2,343 votes and Lewis, 2,322 in an unofficial tally. Cangemi netted 1,813 and Tyler, 1,625.

CangemiconcedesJohn Tyler listens as running mate Grace Cangemi concedes defeat in their bid to block Democrats from taking complete control of the council.

At a GOP gathering at a real estate office on Maple Avenue, about two dozen party faithful watched as over the course of just 15 minutes a rush of results spelled doom for Cangemi and Tyler’s hopes of maintaining their party’s two-seat minority on the governing body.

By 8:40p, Cangemi was conceding defeat in remarks that denounced voters for having blindly voted Democratic instead of “educating” themselves

“They ran down the line,” she said. “I don’t think that’s a reflection of what we believe in. People who voted for us were educated instead of believing what they were told.”

The Democrats, spilling into Broad Street from the former home of a computer store, were in an ebullient mood.

“It’s about us,” the petite Lewis told a packed room from a stepstool, referring to her goal of working for a single Red Bank.

Zipprich, holding up a Blackberry so that his parents could hear his remarks on the other end, said he and Lewis would work with the council to continue it’s “commitment to our communities.”

[redbankgreen will have district-by-district results available Wednesday.]

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