By DUSTIN RACIOPPI
Mayors Pasquale Menna and Mike Halfacre, of Red Bank and Fair Haven, respectively, don’t appear to have any competition in their re-election bids this year.
Both men filed petition paperwork on Monday, the state deadline, to run for re-election. No one else filed for their seats.
But they could face competition if independents write-in for the June 8 primary and November 2 general election ballots.
Menna told redbankgreen that the absence of an opponent “doesn’t mean anything. ” He said he’s only concerned with his role the next four years as the borough’s top executive.
“I can only keep on doing what I’ve been doing and do it the best I can,” he said.
Two Republicans filed to challenge for seats on the Red Bank Council, which is now all-Democrat. Notably absent: Kim Senkeleski, who ran a close race as a political newcomer last November.
The demands of raising three children, aged 7 years to 18 months old, make it almost impossible for her to devote the kind of time necessary to campaign and, if elected, serve, she told redbankgreen.
“Maybe in a couple of years, when things settle down,” she said. “But where I am in life right now, it’s just too much for me.”
Senkeleski said local GOP officials asked her to help them find a mayoral candidate, but “no luck,” she said. “Not even close.”
In this end of Monmouth County there’s a mix of contested and uncontested races for council seats.
Here’s the break down of who filed in each town:
Red Bank: Incumbent Democrats Kathy Horgan and Sharon Lee; Republicans Joe Mizzi, who was initially Senekeleski’s running mate last year, and Rob Lombardi, who replaced Mizzi on the ticket and ran fourth in the four-way race.
Rumson: Democrats Philip Wagner and Michael Steinhorn, a Realtor who has made unsuccessful attempts to squeeze a big D at the council table the last couple years, will challenge Republican incumbents Joan DeVoe and Joseph Hemphill for borough council.
Fair Haven: The all-Republican council will likely stay that way. Sitting councilmen John Lehnert and Jon Peters were the only ones to file paperwork Monday.
Little Silver: There won’t be any changes in Little Silver, either. Stuart Van Winkle and Robert Neff, both Republicans, face no opposition for their council seats.
Middletown: The Township Committee’s lone Democrat, Sean Byrnes, will face off in the June primary against Mary Mahoney, while there’ll be a three-way race for two Republican seats, among Mayor Gerard Scharfenberger and candidates Kevin Settembrino and Anthony Avallone.
Because the committee chooses the mayor, Scharfenberger, who returned to his role as the town’s mayor in January, is running for township committee.
Sea Bright: Republicans Peggy Bills and Brian Kelly will defend their seats against Democrats Margaret Fisher and Marc Leckstein in the November election.
Leckstein, a lawyer who serves as Red Bank’s conflict attorney for the zoning board, as well as the zoning board of adjustments attorney for Aberdeen and Keyport, said he’s making his first foray into politics because the local government has become Republican heavy the last couple years.
“I would like to restore some balance to the Sea Bright council,” he said, and added, “I’ve always had a commitment to public service.”