By JOHN T. WARD
Red Bank’s Democrats regained full control of borough government in an election rout for incumbent Mayor Pasquale Menna and two first-time council candidates in Tuesday’s election.
“We, in January, will be 7-0,” councilman and party chairman Ed Zipprich told a roomful of supporters gathered in a Reckless Place office, referring to the mayoralty and six council seats. “We will not have to fight partisan crap, and put up with crap when we’re talking about moving our town forward,” he said.
Menna, seeking his fourth four-year term at the borough’s helm, sharply outpolled Republican Pearl Lee, garnering nearly 60 percent of votes cast, according to the Monmouth County Clerk’s election website. Lee was Menna’s first challenger since he won the office over then-Councilman John Curley in 2006.
Menna’s running mates, Kate Triggiano (30 percent of the vote) and Hazim Yassin (28 percent) easily topped Republicans Michael Clancy (17) and Allison Gregory (18). Board of education member Sue Viscomi, running for council as an independent, tallied just 6 percent.
Viscomi told redbankgreen that she was “proud” to have run a positive campaign, but “sad that this town will be under one party rule, and saddened that hate took attention from the real issues.”
Unofficial results posted by the Democrats indicated that Lee, a newcomer to politics, won only one of Red Bank’s nine voting districts, district 5, in the area of West Front Street and Riverside Avenue.
When Taylor and Whelan won three years ago, they gave the GOP its first majority on the council in a generation. But the party’s grasp on control was quickly lost as power shifted back to the Democrats a year ago.
The win solidifies the Democrats’ position as the town heads into a year in which major redevelopment and parking issues are expected to come to the fore. A parking study now underway and a proposal to create a downtown redevelopment agency is on the table.
The election also followed a management study, commissioned by the council a year ago, that found borough hall rife with dysfunction. Democrats have vowed to use the study’s recommendations as a blueprint for improvement.