Councilwoman Kate Triggiano at a June 24 abortion rights rally in Red Bank. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)


As pledged, a newly elected slate of Red Bank Democrats ousted Ed Zipprich as party chairman Thursday night.

Councilwoman Kate Triggiano, who led the slate’s party committee takeover in the June 7 primary election, was chosen to succeed Zipprich, completing a swift reversal of fortunes.

Councilmen Michael Ballard, left, and Ed Zipprich at the council’s May 25 meeting. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

In a “quick” party reorganization meeting held via Zoom, Triggiano won 12 of the 17 available votes, with three abstentions and two absences, she told redbankgreen Friday.

In a statement, Triggiano said the newly “unified” party committee “will focus on opening the doors to Democratic participation, ending superficial divisions, and actively cultivating the next generations of local activists.”

She immediately created a new organization Facebook page that’s open to all Facebook users, in contrast to the pre-existing private one. In addition, updates will be available on the party website “once rights are transitioned to the new leadership team,” Triggiano said.

“We believe that a transparent, inclusive Democratic organization is the cornerstone of Red Bank’s bright future. This will be a big tent, a welcoming tent,” she said.

Zipprich did not immediately respond to a redbankgreen request for comment Friday morning.

Wilson Beebe, a member of the short-lived Redevelopment Agency, was elected party vice chairman. Former councilwoman Juanita Lewis, who maintained her committee seat in the election, was asked to continue as treasurer but declined, citing other obligations, Triggiano said.

Triggiano and Zipprich have been at odds from early on in her time on the governing body, which began in 2018. Meetings of the all-Democratic council have frequently featured sharp splits.

The slate’s June 7 victory accompanied another Triggiano-engineered win: newcomer Billy Portman‘s landslide upset of incumbent Councilman Michael Ballard in Democratic primary for mayor.

Portman’s nominal opponent in the general election is Republican Brian Irwin, though GOP chairman Jonathan Maciel Penney said recently that Irwin is a ballot placeholder and no replacement had yet been named.

The winner would succeed four-term Mayor Pasquale Menna, who endorsed Portman after being dumped by the Zipprich-Ballard faction.

Two council candidates selected under Zipprich’s leadership, incumbent Councilwoman Angela Mirandi and political newcomer John Jackson, are running unopposed in the November election.

The new party committee includes Kathy Horgan, Triggiano’s last remaining ally on the council, who is not seeking re-election to the governing body after five terms.

One of the committee’s 18 seats remains vacant as a result of a tie in the June 7 primary that gave the Triggiano slate majority control.

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