By DUSTIN RACIOPPI
Tuesday’s narrow defeat of Republican council candidates Kim Senkeleski and Rob Lombardi doesn’t mean the end to their fight for change in Red Bank, they said last night.
After conceding that incumbent Democrats Art Murphy and Mike DuPont took the race for two council seats, Senkeleski assured a crowd of dozens at her John Street home that she’d be back on the Red Bank political scene, and said the results were the encouragement she needed to do so.
“I just want to let you know I’ll be back,” Senkeleski said. “We’re going to get you what you want.”
Contrary to a report in the Asbury Park Press, Senkeleski told redbankgreen shortly before midnight that she accepted the vote tallies she’d seen and was not considering a recount.
According to the numbers called in at Senkeleski’s home, doubling as GOP headquarters, she got 1,359 votes and Lombardi received 1,301. On the winning Democrat side, their numbers showed Murphy received 1,386 votes and DuPont, 1,401. Unofficial tallies later in the night showed Senkeleski narrowed the margin between her and Murphy down to seven votes.
Senkeleski, who has become a regular at council meetings in recent months, said she’ll continue pushing for lower taxes and taking concerns from residents straight to the council.
“I’m not going to let up,” she said. “You don’t have to be on council to make change.”
Lombardi, on the other hand, said his return to politics in Red Bank won’t likely be immediate.
“I’ll be back at some point in the near future,” he said. “This encourages me to run again in the future.”
Lombardi said considering he and his running mate came so close in votes on their first try, and with a recent history of all-Democrat councils, he feels their chances will be even better if they do run again.
“We knew going into this it was an uphill battle,” he said. “To get within 100 votes for both of us, that’s amazing. I feel like if we run again, we’ll win.”
While the results were slowly filtering in, it looked at one point that the Republicans had a shot at taking the Democrats. Before District 4 came in the area bound by Broad Street, Harding Road, Branch Avenue and the Little Silver border the numbers tallied at Senkeleski’s house showed she and Lombardi were down by only about 40 votes each.
“The excitement is killing me,” Senkeleski said, biting her nails staring at the tally board.
Though disappointed that they lost, Senkeleski and Lombardi ran a hard and admirable campaign against formidable incumbents in DuPont and Murphy, said former Councilman Jim Giannell.
“These two are winners tonight,” he said.