Home>Campaigns>Judge orders Dodd, running mates back on primary ballot in Dover

Superior Court Judge Stuart Minkowitz at a hearing on April 18, 2023. (Photo: New Jersey Globe).

Judge orders Dodd, running mates back on primary ballot in Dover

Minkowitz finds that three candidates tossed by election official meet the one-year residency requirement

By David Wildstein, April 19 2023 4:31 pm

A Superior Court judge will allow James P. Dodd to be on the ballot in the June Democratic primary for mayor of Dover, reversing a decision by the acting municipal clerk to reject his nominating petitions because he no longer lived in town.

Judge Stuart Minkowitz will also allow two ward alderman candidates running with Dodd, Claudia Toro and Sergio Rodriguez, to also appear on the ballot.  Reynaldo Julve, the acting clerk, had also found Toro and Rodriguez to not meet the one-year residency requirement.

Dodd, who spent sixteen years as mayor before losing re-election in 2019, disputed allegations that he had moved to Fredon in Sussex County, certifying that he was a lifelong Dover resident.

“The acting municipal clerk’s allegations that Dodd does not reside in Dover are not sufficiently supported,” Minkowitz found.  “First, it has not been established that Dodd lives at the Fredon Property. Other than a bald assertion that Dodd moved to the Fredon Property two years after he acquired that property, the only support for this claim is the certification of one individual, Patrick Fahy, who neighbors the Fredon.”

But in a court hearing on Tuesday, Minkowitz said repeatedly that candidates “may have more than one residence, but only one domicile.”  He was convinced that Dodd’s domicile was in Dover.

Toro made it on the ballot despite having voted in Randolph in the last election.

“I didn’t know I voted in another town,” she told Minkowitz yesterday.

Minkowitz moved at a sluggish pace to address the ballot challenge, initially setting the hearing for later this month, six days after vote-by-mail ballots were set to go out on April 22.

Dodd will face Mayor Carolyn Blackman, Alderman Sandra Wittner, and former Alderman Edward Correa in the Democratic primary.  Correa, the Democratic municipal chairman, has the organization line.

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