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Democrats reclaim majority in Red Bank

RED BANK – Two years after losing control of the Borough Council, Democrats in Red Bank will reclaim their majority with Edward Zipprich’s and Michael Ballard’s victories in the Nov. 7 election.

Democrats Zipprich, an incumbent, and Ballard emerged as the top vote-getters in the election for two three-year terms on the Borough Council, according to results posted online by the Monmouth County Clerk’s Office. Zipprich received 1,828 votes and Ballard received 1,804 votes.

Incumbent Republican Linda Schwabenbauer, a member of the council since 2015, received 1,107 votes and Republican Dana McArthur received 1,021 votes, according to the clerk’s office.

The results are unofficial until certified by the county.

When Ballard joins the council in January, Democrats will gain a 4-2 majority of the council, along with the mayor’s office. The council is currently split along party lines, with three Democrats and three Republicans. Schwabenbauer’s departure at the end of the year will lower the Republican seats to two.

The Democrats’ victory comes after Republicans gained a 4-2 majority in the 2015 election. With Democrats winning two three-year terms in 2016 and this year, the party was able to reclaim its control of the council.

“Thank you Red Bank,” Zipprich and Ballard wrote in an online statement after the election. “We won in every district and we understand. We can’t thank you enough.”

Zipprich has been a member of the Borough Council since 2008 and said he sought re-election to continue to serve and improve the community.

“I’m most proud of my work to save the T. Thomas Fortune House, which is a vital part of our town’s history, and rebuilding the Count Basie Fields,” Zipprich said. “It is these types of projects that make our town a better place, and I will continue to focus on the revitalization of Red Bank’s parks and public spaces.”

Ballard is currently a member of the Red Bank K-8 School District Board of Education and was appointed to the council in 2015 to fill a vacant seat. He also sought election to a full three-year term that year.

“As a member of the Board of Education and Parks and Recreation Committee, I have fought hard to make sure that all of the children in our community have the opportunities they deserve,” Ballard said. “I will join the other Democrats on the council in ensuring that a long‐envisioned park comes to fruition.”

Schwabenbauer thanked those who supported her and McArthur in an online statement.

“Thank you, Red Bank, for giving me the chance to serve over the past few years,” Schwabenbauer wrote. “Much of the change you asked for when you elected me in 2014 is underway, and our goal now will be to make sure it doesn’t stall, since real change takes time. We ran an excellent campaign, focusing on the issues and not the personalities, and we made some great friends along the way.

“Dana and I would like to thank our volunteers who worked so hard [and so creatively at times], our local business community who stepped up to support us, our neighbors, our friends, and our family, who gave us their yards for our signs and their shoulders to lean on, and everyone who believed in our message – that we could achieve lower property taxes for residents and a more profitable downtown by working more closely with our business community, so everyone comes out ahead.

“It was a great race, and the fact that we did not win only means we have to work harder to keep Red Bank an affordable and great place to live,” she wrote. “Thank you all [and] see you soon.”

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