RED BANK: GOP ‘PLACEHOLDERS’ ON BALLOT

jonathan maciel penney 102419Jonathan Maciel Penney speaking as a candidate at the West Side Community Group forum in 2019. (Photo by Ben Forest. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Red Bank Republicans announced two “placeholder” candidates for borough council in the November election Monday.

Party Chairman Jonathan Maciel Penney said he had filed campaign papers for himself and Christine Stout.

“However, the candidates are not finalized and we are still interviewing potential candidates,” Penney told redbankgreen by email Monday.

So why announce candidacies?

“The rationale is it was necessary to post two individuals as placeholders,” he replied. “However, we have a couple months to change the candidates, if that is the option that makes the most sense.”

Penney supplied no background information or photos of Stout. Property records show she owns a home on Bassett Place.

Up for grabs are seats held by Democrats Kate Triggiano and Hazim Yassin. Both are completing their first three-year terms. They face a June primary challenge by Bruce Maida and Jacqueline M. Sturdivant.

Sturdivant was named last week to replace Leroi Royal Jones on the local party-backed ticket after Jones quit the race, “citing unforeseen circumstances.”

Though Democrats hold all six seats on the governing body, as well as mayor’s chair, the party has fractured in the past year, and local party Chairman Ed Zipprich is supporting Maida and Sturdivant over the incumbents.

Last November, Zipprich and Michael Ballard waltzed to council re-election victories two months after Republican candidates Penney and Brian Irwin dropped out of the race.

Irwin told redbankgreen at the time that he had told the Republican organization “that I would just do them the favor of being a placeholder on the ballot,” with the possibility of running in the general election.

Eventually, he said, he decided that “it just wasn’t the right time” to run because of a heavy workload at his family’s business, Irwin Marine.

Penney and running mate Allison Gregory came up short against incumbents Kathy Horgan and Erik Yngstrom in their 2019 bids for council. Penney succeeded Michael Clancy as chairman of the local Republican club last July.

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