The Northwest Jersey Central Labor Council has endorsed Alderwoman Carolyn Blackman in her bid to unseat incumbent James P. Dodd in the race for Mayor of Dover.
Dodd, the mayor since 2003, is seeking re-election as an independent after losing control of the local Democratic organization last year.
“After a very thorough vetting process where all the candidates were interviewed, our diverse affiliates unanimously agreed that Carolyn Blackman is the most qualified and her Democratic Team are the best people to lead and improve the quality of life of all the working families in Dover,” said Anthony Abrantes, the Northwest Jersey CLC president.
Dodd had received union support in previous political campaigns.
An insurgent group led by Democrats seeking greater representation in a town that is 69.4% Hispanic defeated three Dodd allies in the 2018 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 had 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 – a move that came after then-Morris County Democratic Chairman Lewis Candura reportedly signed off on the Dodd endorsement.
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.
In that race, Democrat Lisa Bhimani carried Dover by a 68%-32% margin over Bucco in the Senate race. Bhimani is now running for Assembly against Bucco’s son, who is headed to the Senate.
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.