By JOHN T. WARD
Knocked from their perch a year ago, Red Bank Democrats gained parity with Republicans on the borough council Tuesday night, as incumbent Kathy Horgan and newcomer Erik Yngstrom routed three other candidates, according to preliminary results.
The clearest loser in the race was incumbent Cindy Burnham, who ran a distant fifth three years after she broke a seven-year Democratic lock on the governing body.
With eight of nine voting districts counted, both Horgan and Yngstrom were polling at above 24 percent of the total votes cast, while Republican challengers Brian Hanlon and Kellie O’Bosky Colwell failed to crack 20 percent, according to figures posted by the Monmouth County Clerk.
Burnham’s tally was below 13 percent as of 10 p.m.
It was an election in which the first Republican majority in a generation, reduced by one soon after it took office last January, had a chance to restore or even build upon itself. The one was Burnham, who took office as a Republican but was bounced from the ticket by the local GOP committee earlier this year.
Instead, the council now comprises three Republicans — Linda Schwabenbauer, Mark Taylor and Mike Whelan — and three Democrats — Horgan, Yngstrom and Ed Zipprich — along with a Democratic mayor, Pasquale Menna, who’s got two years left to his current term.
“This is a revelation to the people of Red Bank,” former mayor Ed McKenna announced to Democratic partisans packed into an empty storefront on Broad Street. Though voters gave Republicans the majority a year ago, “because we did such a good job, the people of Red Bank gave it back to us, resoundingly.”
Burnham, who followed the results at a nearby restaurant, told redbankgreen that she “stopped in at the Democratic headquarters and hugged Kathy and Erik and wished them well.
“I will continue to work for the taxpayers of Red Bank as I always have before I was on council, and I do think that this is the best outcome for the town of Red Bank,” she wrote in a text.
Hanlon and O’Bosky Colwell conceded the result and offered congratulations to the winners, GOP Chairman Mike Clancy told redbankgreen by text.