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RED BANK: BURNHAM BREAKS DEMS’ ‘HOLD’

Election_2013_Plainburnham-di-somma-110513-500x418-9256123Cindy Burnham,left, and Sean Di Somma, right, awaiting returns in a downtown office Tuesday night. Below, incumbent Democrat Kathy Horgan, who won another three-year term. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

kathy-horgan-110513-220x165-2172879Activist Cindy Burnham scored an upset victory, emerging as the top vote-getter by a single vote in Tuesday’s election for Red Bank council.

“I’m shocked,” Burnham said at a small gathering of partisans in an office above the Bistro restaurant on Broad Street. “But I’m very happy that we can break the Democrats’ hold” on the governing body, she told redbankgreen.

Incumbent Democrat Kathy Horgan finished second, retaining her seat, while three-termer Sharon Lee lost hers, trailing Horgan by 24 votes, and brash Republican newcomer Sean Di Somma finished fourth.

Mayor Pasquale Menna said that Democrats would ask for a recount because of the close results.

sharon-lee-110513-500x375-1834270Councilwoman Sharon Lee gets a kiss from her son, Devon Ramsay, as returns showed her losing her seat. (Click to enlarge)

With her win, Burnham – a longtime borough property owner who last year moved back to town from Fair Haven with the express purpose of running for office – becomes the first non-Democrat on the six-member body in five years. The council, which is led by Mayor Pasquale Menna, also a Democrat, last had a Republican when Grace Cangemi and Jim Giannell closed out partial terms in 2008.

The quiet campaign erupted in its final days with accusations by Di Somma that Horgan and Lee “lied” about the extent of property tax increases during their tenures on the council and charges that Di Somma was wanted on a warrant for an unpaid traffic ticket in Dallas.

Menna said late Tuesday that Lee had not conceded, and that party officials would ask for a recount. “That’s standard, and a rather expeditious process,” with results generally available within 10 days, he said.

Her are the unofficial results, per the Monmouth County Clerk’s office:

Kathy Horgan (D) 1,291

Sharon Lee (D) 1,267

Cindy Burnham (r) 1,292

Sean Di Somma (R) 1,185

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