Councilmembers Ed Zipprich, center, and Juanita Lewis with former Councilman Ivan Polonsky, right, at Democratic HQ Tuesday night. Linda Schwabenbauer, below. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)
By JOHN T. WARD
Linda Schwabenbauer only got into the Red Bank council race in August, and didn’t start campaigning until mid-September.
Though she’s lived in town for 10 years, the Republican also had the handicap of being an unknown political entity.
“I’d never heard of her,” said former mayor and local Democratic party sage Ed McKenna, “and I don’t know anyone who had.”
And yet, even as her opponents – and perhaps some supporters – struggled to pronounce her name, Schwabenbauer came away as the leading vote-getter in Tuesday’s election, edging incumbent Ed Zipprich by nine votes and knocking out incumbent Democrat Juanita Lewis, according to the GOP.
Republican Linda Schwabenbauer, left, with state Senator Jennifer Beck and running mate Sean Di Somma, far right, as returns were tallied Tuesday night. Below, Ed Zipprich, seen at right through a ladder at Democratic headquarters with his husband, J.P. Nicolaides and former Mayor Ed McKenna, at left. (Photo above by John T. Ward, below by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)
By JOHN T. WARD
One year after narrowly regaining a toehold on Red Bank government, Republicans will soon have a second representative on the six-member council.
Or so it appeared late Tuesday night.
GOP newcomer Linda Schwabenbauer and Democratic incumbent Ed Zipprich were neck-and-neck in the race for two council seats. And though the two parties differed on vote totals, both candidates appeared to have outpolled Zipprich running mate Juanita Lewis by about two dozen votes.
The clear loser, for the second year in a row, was Republican Sean Di Somma, who conceded defeat early in the evening.
Mayor Pasquale Menna, a Democrat, was elected to a third four-year term. He was unopposed on the ballot.
Beginning shortly after 8 p.m. Tuesday, NJ Spotlight and NJ News Commons will begin posting results for congressional races across the state. For up-to-the minute results, click on a district; you can zoom in and move the map around.
These results are preliminary as precincts report. The colors on the map indicate which party is leading by district: red for Republicans and blue for Democrats. An asterisk (*) indicates an incumbent.
Republican council candidate Sean Di Somma. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)
In Tuesday’s election for Red Bank council, incumbents Juanita Lewis and Ed Zipprich, both Democrats, face Republicans Sean Di Somma and Linda Schwabenbauer. Here are Di Somma’s answers to questions sent to all four candidates byredbankgreen.
Name: Sean Patrick Di Somma
Where did you grow up? Bergen County, NJ
How long have you been a resident of Red Bank? Almost 3 years
Democrat Juanita Lewis has been on the council since 2009. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)
In Tuesday’s election for Red Bank council, incumbents Juanita Lewis and Ed Zipprich, both Democrats, face Republicans Sean Di Somma and Linda Schwabenbauer. Here are Lewis’s answers to questions sent to all four candidates byredbankgreen.
Name: Juanita Lewis
Where did you grow up? I was born and raised in Red Bank.
How long have you been a resident of Red Bank? All of my life, except when I went to college, graduate school and when I worked overseas for one year.
Republican council candidate Linda Schwabenbauer. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)
In Tuesday’s election for Red Bank council, incumbents Juanita Lewis and Ed Zipprich, both Democrats, face Republicans Sean Di Somma and Linda Schwabenbauer. Here are Schwabenbauer’s answers to questions sent to all four candidates byredbankgreen.
Name: Linda Schwabenbauer
Where did you grow up? Downingtown, PA
How long have you been a resident of Red Bank? Since May of 2005 – just shy of 10 years
Democrat Ed Zipprich has been on the council since 2009. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)
In Tuesday’s election for Red Bank council, incumbents Juanita Lewis and Ed Zipprich, both Democrats, face Republicans Sean Di Somma and Linda Schwabenbauer. Here are Zipprich’s answers to questions sent to all four candidates byredbankgreen.
Name: Edward Zipprich
Where did you grow up? In a small town similar to Red Bank in Staten Island, NY
How long have you been a resident of Red Bank? 17.5 years
Republicans Linda Schwabenbauer and Sean Di Somma had a full-house audience at River Street Commons to themselves Tuesday night. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)
By JOHN T. WARD
The two Red Bank council candidates challenged the Democratic incumbents to a debate Wednesday, one day after a meet-the-candidates event at which the Dems were no-shows.
GOP contender Sean Di Somma called the absence of Juanita Lewis and Ed Zipprich “sad and shameful,” adding that they’d “pulled a fast one on Red Bank residents” by canceling at the last minute.
Zipprich told redbankgreen earlier on Tuesday that he was attending to a family medical issue, and Lewis told the Westside Community Group that she couldn’t make their Tuesday event because she was “pulled away on business,” said event moderator Amy Goldsmith.
The River Street Commons had a full house for the event, hosted by the Westside Community Group. Alecia Wilkerson, below, asked a question from the audience. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)
By JOHN T. WARD
The two Republican candidates for Red Bank council in next week’s election had an open field as neither of their opponents showed up for a debate Tuesday night.
Incumbent Democrat Ed Zipprich was out of town on a family medical issue, and fellow incumbent Democrat Juanita Lewis was “called away on business,” Westside Community Group president and event moderator Amy Goldsmith said the candidates told her.
That gave Republican challengers Sean Di Somma and Linda Schwabenbauer control of the floor at the 18th annual candidates’ night, held as always at the River Street Commons. Di Somma made frequent reference to the absences, and at one point gave away their chairs to audience members who had packed the former school gym.
Councilman Ed Zipprich, seen at the Red Bank NAACP candidates’ forum at Calvary Baptist Church Thursday night, acknowledged he set up a website that now attacks Republican candidates. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)
By JOHN T. WARD
Red Bank Councilman Ed Zipprich has admitted having connections to an apparent ‘astroturf‘ website that slams Republican politicians and has boosted his own candidacy for state Assembly.
In response to questions from redbankgreen Friday morning, Zipprich acknowledged that he owns the domain name SayWhatNJ.com and is a former owner of an active website at that address. The site bills itself as a watchdog of “policy makers and the people who influence them.”
Among the site’s activities was a comment posted on redbankgreen Friday morning to bolster a claim by Monmouth County Democrats that GOP council candidate Sean Di Somma was the subject of a three-year-old arrest warrant in Dallas. Di Somma calls the allegation a lie; police in Dallas were not immediately reachable for comment.
Di Somma calls SayWhatNJ’s latest action “a straight-up violation” of state election laws.
The crumbling library bulkhead, above right, abuts that of the Corinthian Cove condos, at left. Below, resident Tom Labetti of Elm Place makes a point during the public hearing. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)
By SARAH KLEPNER
The tide turned abruptly on the Red Bank Eisner Memorial Library bulkhead issue Wednesday.
A $600,000 bond ordinance to pay for a new bulkhead at the site, and one at another Navesink River property, was tabled at the eleventh hour, after having appeared headed to certain approval.
The tabling followed defections by two councilmembers, Kathy Horgan and Ed Zipprich, who said they would side with environmentalists and residents who called for a “living,” or structure-free, shoreline.
“I think we need to explore the issue more,” Horgan said. “During the superstorm, any living shoreline had very little damage and self-repaired itself very quickly.” She also noted that the Stevens Institute of Technology and the American Littoral Society had previously offered to create the natural shoreline, at no cost to the borough.
With organizer Cindy Burnham holding up a photo, Annie Jones argues for allowing residents to garden a 900-square-foot strip of borough property at Maple Cove. (Click to enlarge)
By JOHN T. WARD
Community garden proponents assailed the Red Bank council Wednesday night for what they termed its “because-I-said-so” opposition to the creation of a farm plot at a borough-owned Navesink River site.
Revisiting the council’s 2011 rejection of a proposal for a pilot garden behind the borough library parking lot on West Front Street, residents challenged elected officials to articulate their opposition to the plan, and left as frustrated as they were going in.
“What we have a hard time understanding is that we haven’t really heard a good reason why not,” Locust Avenue’s Kathleen Gasenica told the governing body.
“It’s very simple,” replied borough Administrator Stanley Sickels. “The council doesn’t share your vision for a garden there.”
“That doesn’t really answer the question,” Gasenica said.
District 2 voters entering the Independent Engine Company house on Mechanic Street Tuesday morning. (Photo by Peter Lindner. Click to enlarge)
By JOHN T. WARD
[SEE CORRECTION BELOW]
Red Bank’s Democrats maintained their lock on the borough’s governing body with two decisive wins for council Tuesday.
Juanita Lewis and local party chairman Ed Zipprich defeated Republicans Grace Cangemi and Joe Mizzi, whose campaign lite strategy had opponents and some voters scratching their heads about their whereabouts in the race.
A dead-quiet race for two Red Bank council seats enters the home stretch Wednesday night as two Republican challengers face off against the incumbents from the all-Democrat governing body Wednesday night.
Meantime, Tuesday is the last day to register as a voter in the November 8 general election.