By JOHN T. WARD
You might call it the “no-party-ties party” when Red Bank Council President Cindy Burnham launches her independent run for re-election next month with a bash that she says is open to all borough residents.
After licking her wounds about being dumped from the 2016 Republican ticket on Sunday, Burnham confirmed Thursday that she’ll mount a solo run, one based on her record as an activist and “the voice of reason” on the governing body.
“If there’s on thing I know how to do, it’s throw a party,” she told redbankgreen.
On Sunday, the local GOP committee rejected Burnham’s bid for the party blessing with a spot on the primary ballot in June. Instead, the committee chose Brian Hanlon and Kellie O’Bosky Colwell to run for the two, three-year council seats open in the November election. They’re likely to face off against incumbent Democrat Kathy Horgan and her running mate, Erik Yngstrom.
Burnham said she knew going into Sunday’s event that Di Somma intended to exclude her from the ticket, but said she went anyway “out of courtesy to the Republican party that used to run respectable campaigns.” Still, she said, it stung to see headlines saying she’d been “dumped.”
In the days since, though, she said she’s been heartened by an outpouring of support in the comments on redbankgreen. That “had a lot to do with” her decision to mount an independent run, she said.
“I’m going grass-roots,” she said, promising not to tear down the Republican candidates, with whom she’s friendly. “I’m running on my record. I’m not a vicious person, I don’t need to take anyone down, and I don’t want to take anyone down.”
Still, she’s bitter toward Di Somma, her nominal running mate in 2013, though they campaigned separately. At the end of that race, Burnham broke the Democrats’ seven-year lock on all six council seats and the mayoralty, and Di Somma suffered the first of two consecutive defeats.
Two years later, the Republicans claimed the council majority for the first time since 1990.
Di Somma, Burnham said, is “a liar, someone who won’t hesitate to throw me under the bus, and a verbal abuser.”
Here’s DiSomma’s response, via text message:
I feel sorry for Cindy. She has no message in her campaign but one of negativity and animus and to take Red Bank backwards. She was nearly unanimously rejected by a committee of life long residents, comprised of Committee members with an average tenure of roughly 40 years and the meeting happened with 14 witnesses. As usual, Cindy continues to have trouble discerning reality from fantasy the I genuinely feel bad for her that she feels she needs to stoop so low and use vicious and personal attacks to try to get elected. Cindy represents the Dead Bank era. I wish her luck in November.
Burham’s party is scheduled for Sunday, May 15, from 6 to 9 p.m. at her home at 71 Wallace Street.