By JOHN T. WARD
Already a little-known, thinly financed newcomer taking on established incumbents, Red Bank council candidate Suzanne Viscomi will go the rest of the campaign without a running mate.
Viscomi announced Monday that ticket mate and fellow borough board of ed member Allen Palma has had to withdraw from the race for personal reasons.
At an open-air press conference outside her home Monday, Viscomi said the vacancy on the ballot was unlikely to be filled, and that she would run solo. But she didn’t see that as a hinderance in her effort to unseat either Art Murphy or Mike DuPont.
“We only need one voice” to counter that of the all-Democratic mayor and council, she said.
Joined in the driveway of her Arthur Place home by state state Senator Jen Beck and Assemblywoman Mary Pat Angelini, both 11-District Republicans, Viscomi said “there is no dissension” on the six-member council, which she said also needs tighter fiscal controls and more transparency.
She took credit for prompting the borough to begin making printed digests of voucher payments available to the public at its bimonthly meetings last month.
In a press release, Viscomi said spending by the borough “is out of control,” but declined to answer questions about what she would eliminate or trim, saying she’d address that later and wanted to ensure that reporters continue to follow her campaign.
“This is the time to make the right decisions, decisions of needs, not wants,” she said.
Beck chimed in to criticize an effort led in recent years by Mayor Pasquale Menna to impose property taxes on nonprofits when they expand facilities in town, a move that she said would not only be “unconstitutional, but I think also places a serious burden on not-for-profits that are struggling right now.
“My bet is that our candidate, Sue Viscomi, is going to have a lot better ideas than taxing Lunch Break,” said Beck, a borough resident who served two terms on the council.
Ecuadoran by birth and adopted as an infant, Vicscomi, 35, grew up in Brick Township, where she lived before moving to Red Bank nine years ago, she said.
Holder of an accounting degree from Rider University and a masters in accounting from the University of Phoenix, she’s employed as the chief financial officer of National Parts Supply, a 10-store family-owned auto parts distributor based in New Brunswick. A flexible work schedule has enabled her to serve on the board of ed since 2011, she said, and will allow her to do the same on the council if elected November 6, she said.
Viscomi declined to say whether one or both of her opponents was undeserving of re-election. “That’s for the voters to decide,” she said.
She said the fight for a council seat would require her to knock on twice as many doors as she might otherwise have to if she had a running mate, but that she was undaunted. The race, she said, “is going to be hard. It should be hard. But I’m up to the task.”
Palma could not be reached for comment.