RED BANK: ONE PRIMARY CONTESTED, ONE NOT

By JOHN T. WARD

Four Red Bank Democrats square off Tuesday in a rare primary election for two spots on the November ballot for borough council.

Meantime, the borough’s Republicans have two “placeholder” candidates on the primary ballot.

• Just three years after positioning Kate Triggiano and Hazim Yassin for wins in their first races, local Democratic Chairman (and council member) Ed Zipprich hopes to block their re-election by putting the organization’s weight, and bank account, behind two more newcomers: Bruce Maida and Jacqueline Sturdivant.

Though Democrats hold all six seats on the governing body, as well the mayor’s office, party unity became shredded over the past year, most visibly over plans for the Senior Center on Shrewsbury Avenue.

When the dust finally settled in late April, Triggiano said adherence to a “healthy” facilities review by the Redevelopment Agency delivered the “due diligence” needed to proceed with a plan to rebuild the center, closed for two years following a pipe burst.

In their campaign literature, Maida and Sturdivant have claimed credit for “saving the Senior Center” while pressing for “smart growth, not overdevelopment,” and touting their professional experience of managing budgets and large-scale projects.

With endorsements from Governor Phil Murphy and State Senator Vin Gopal, Triggiano and Yassin have pressed their roles in launching the downtown Broadwalk dining plaza at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic; efforts to get residents tested for and seniors vaccinated against the virus; and initiating a process that will likely put a charter study referendum on the November ballot.

• On the Republican ballot Tuesday are local party Chairman Jonathan Maciel Penney and Christine Stout, running unopposed. Both were slotted as ballot “placeholders” while the organization searched for other potential candidates, Penney said in April.

In 2019, before becoming chairman, Penney and running mate Allison Gregory came up far short in a council race against incumbent Democrats Kathy Horgan and Erik Yngstrom.

A year later, after replacing Michael Clancy as party leader, Penney and Brian Irwin dropped out of a council race two months before election day, clearing the way to re-election for incumbent Democrats Zipprich and Michael Ballard.

Polls close at 8 p.m. A map of polling places can be found here.

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