RED BANK: DI SOMMA QUITS AS GOP CHAIR
Sean Di Somma, right, with successful council candidates Mark Taylor, left, and Mike Whelan last November. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)
By JOHN T. WARD
Sean Di Somma won’t be staying on as Red Bank Republican chairman after all, according to a published report.
Di Somma informed Monmouth County GOP officials by email Thursday that he won’t seek a second term, which was to have begun this month, according to the report by More Monmouth Musings, a conservative publication based in Highlands.
MMM’s Art Gallagher reports that Michael Clancy, whose failed Red Bank board of education candidacy last fall was studded with controversy over his eligibility to run as well as his positions, is hoping to succeed Di Somma.
In April, after telling party loyalists that he planned to forego another term in order to devote more time to his wife and infant daughter, Di Somma reversed field and decided to stay on. He told redbankgreen at the time that calls by “internet trolls” and “local Democrats” for his resignation changed his mind.
But now, with a new job in New York City that requires more than 100 days of travel annually, long days when he’s not traveling, and a child, “unfortunately, there aren’t three ends of a candle to burn,” he wrote in an email to the county committee, Gallagher reported.
Di Somma, 34, had better results as a party leader than as a candidate for local office. After losing the 2013 council race — in which his running mate, Cindy Burnham, was elected — Di Somma succeeded Jack Minton as party chair in June, 2014.
That year, he ran for council a second time, but watched from the sidelines again as his running mate, newcomer Linda Schwabenbauer, sailed to victory without him.
Di Somma’s hand-picked candidates, Mike Whelan and Mark Taylor, won two more council seats in the 2015 election, giving the GOP its first majority since 1990.
But in recent months, the GOP’s dominance has appeared to fray, if not break. In early April Di Somma engineered Burnham’s ouster from the GOP ballot for two open council seats in this year’s election. Burnham has since chosen to run as an independent, and has occasionally joined with Democrats in slowing, if not stopping, the GOP agenda.
MMM reports that Clancy, 33, has Di Somma’s endorsement and plans to continue moving the party in the same direction established by Di Somma if he’s chosen to succeed him.