In an upset victory, Red Bank Councilman Michael Ballard has lost the Democratic mayoral primary to Bill Portman, who ran off the line. Incumbent Mayor Pat Menna did not run for re-election.
Portman did not field any council candidates, so Ballard’s running mates, Councilwoman Angela Mirandi and newcomer John Jackson, won uncontested. But a number of county committee candidates affiliated with Portman won their races, meaning that Democratic municipal chairman Ed Zipprich is out.
Red Bank has long had tumultuous internecine Democratic politics, with Zipprich leading one faction of the party and several councilmembers heading up another faction. Mirandi’s appointment to the council earlier this year, which shifted the balance of the council in Zipprich’s favor, caused a protracted legal battle.
Portman will go up against Republican Brian Irwin this November in the strongly Democratic town, while Mirandi and Jackson will face Christine Stout and Jonathan Penney.