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Red Bank Councilwoman Jacqueline Sturdivant. (Photo: Jacqueline Sturdivant).

Red Bank independent drops after petitions become unzipped

Sturdivant didn’t get enough signatures in latest Zipprich fail

By David Wildstein, June 13 2022 8:32 pm

Jacqueline Sturdivant’s seven-day campaign for mayor of Red Bank ended on Monday, with the Democratic councilwoman dropping her independent bid because she didn’t get enough signatures on her nominating petition.

Edward Zipprich, a councilman and controversial Red Bank Democratic municipal chair, had made Sturdivant his Plan B in the event that his first choice candidate, Michael Ballard, lost the Democratic primary to upstart newcomer Billy Portman.

With nearly eight hours to go before the polls closed, Sturdivant filed as an independent using petitions notarized by Zipprich.

“I filed to run as an independent to at least try to preserve the chance of Red Bank remaining the small town I have always loved,” Sturdivant stated.  “I am deeply concerned about the direction our town is now heading.”

But Sturdivant’s bid came to an end when Team Zipprich only obtained 82 signatures on her petition – she needed 72 – and 28 of the signatories were invalid because they signed Ballard’s petition.  Among them were Ballard’s wife and daughter, and the two organization candidates for council.

“I supported Michael Ballard’s historic mayoral candidacy.  His opponent’s campaign message stated he was a placeholder for five months and he supported changing the government,” said Sturdivant, an opponent of a proposal to change Red Bank’s form of government to non-partisan.

She criticized Portman as a man with “no experience, no vision, and no legislative initiatives.”

“This celebration of change with no clear purpose or vision greatly concerned me,” Sturdivant said.  “I believed that all residents who would be directly impacted deserved another choice.”

Her ally, Zipprich, is on his way out as municipal chair after a majority of the county committee seats were captured by Portman allies.

Sturdivant stopped short of endorsing anyone in the general election.

“I will work as best I can with whomever is November’s winner to continue to deliver on my pledges to the people,” she said.

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