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Dover Mayor James Dodd

Dover mayor didn’t file for Democratic primary

Longtime mayor could may seek re-election as an independent

By David Wildstein, April 01 2019 4:51 pm

Dover mayor James P. Dodd did not file to seek re-election in the Democratic primary but could still run for as an independent in the general election.

Alderwoman Carolyn Blackman is running unopposed in the Democratic primary.

Dodd told the New Jersey Globe on March 13 that he knew he could not get the organization line if he ran again and acknowledged that an independent bid could be his best hope to continue as mayor.

The filing deadline for independent candidates in June 4.

He has held office in Dover since 1997, when he ousted Republican 4th ward alderman R. Keith Titus 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.

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 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.

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