By JOHN T. WARD
Holding off a challenge by activist Ben Forest, Mayor Pasquale Menna secured the top spot on the Democratic ticket in the November election Sunday.
Menna, going for a fourth four-year term, will be joined by two council contenders seeking their first elective office.
The selection of Menna, Kate Triggiano and Hazim Yassin at the Democrats’ annual county committee meeting has yet to be formally confirmed by local party chairman Ed Zipprich, who did not respond to an inquiry by redbankgreen. But Triggiano confirmed Monday that she had been nominated and said an announcement was forthcoming.
In secret balloting at the B2 Bistro, Menna held off a challenge by Forest, an environmental activist and member of the borough school board since 2005. Aa 63-year-old attorney and River Road resident, Menna served 18 years on the borough council before he was elected to succeed Ed McKenna as mayor in 2006.
Triggiano, who this year became chairwoman of the Environmental Commission and was appointed as an alternate member of the zoning board, lives on Leighton Avenue and is involved in immigrant-rights issues.
Yassin was appointed an alternate on the planning board in January. He’s the president of the American Muslim Action Network, and his Facebook page identifies him as a financial adviser at Wealth Advisory Group LLC, which is based in New York City. Yassin’s address was not immediately available, and he did not respond to a request for comment.
Former council member Mike DuPont had previously been reported to be considering a run for mayor as a Democrat, but withdrew his name from consideration earlier this year, offering his support to Menna, he told redbankgreen.
Republican party chairman Michael Clancy did not respond to a request for information on the status of the GOP’s candidate selection process.
The Democrats hold a 4-2 majority on the council, as well as the mayor’s chair. The seats held by first-term Republicans Mark Taylor and Mike Whelan are up for grabs in the race.
Red Bank’s Democrats held a council majority from 1989 to 2016, when Taylor and Whelan joined Cindy Burham and Linda Schwabenbauer on the dais to give the GOP control. But that proved short-lived, as Burham and Schwabenbauer lost their bids for second terms in 2016 and 2017, respectively.