DOVER – Alderwoman Carolyn Blackman is running for mayor of Dover on the Morris County Democratic organization line in the June primary. She would become town’s first woman and first black mayor.
The incumbent, Democrat James P. Dodd, has not announced if he will seek re-election. He could run off the line in the primary or wait until June and file as an independent.
Running with Blackman for Alderman are Jessica Cruz in the 1st ward, Judith Rugg in the 2nd, Adrian Ballesteros in the 3rd, and Marcos Tapias in the 4th.
An insurgent group led by Democrats seeking greater representation in a town that is 69.4% Hispanic defeated three Dodd allies in the Democratic primary. Backed by Morris County Democratic chairman Chip Robinson, the Dover First group wrestled 19 of 24 county committee seats away from Dodd allies.
Dover (pop. 18,157) is 48% Hispanic — with a large Colombian community — and 6% Black, but the county committee in Dover has a white majority.
In 2015, Dodd faced a primary challenge from former police chief Butch Valentine and won by 71 votes, 53%-47%.
Dodd and four Democratic alderman angered leaders of their party by public endorsing Republican Gov. Chris Christie in 2013. Democrats allege that Dodd backed State Sen. Anthony R. Bucco (R-Boonton) and Assemblyman Anthony M. Bucco (R-Boonton) in their narrow 2017 re-election bids.
Dodd ousted Republican 4th ward alderman R. Keith Titus in 1997 by 67 votes, 43%-32%, in a three-way race. He was elected mayor in 2003 with 62% of the vote after Republican Javier Mar stepped down.