Morris County Democratic Chairman Chip Robinson declared today that he will support Karol Ruiz and her Dover Forward slate in the Democratic primary this year, snubbing Alderman Edward Correa, the Democratic municipal chairman, and his ticket.
“Having a ‘D’ next to one’s name is not enough, particularly in one of our county’s most Democratic towns,” Robinson said in an email. “It has become obvious and troubling that Alderman Correa has lost the support of the movement he helped build and has lost the support of the community.”
In 2018, Correa led an insurgent Dover First slate that ousted allies of then-Mayor James Dodd, who was seen as hostile to the town’s Hispanic majority. Dodd himself was ousted a year later by Alderwoman Carolyn Blackman, the town’s first Black mayor, and Correa was chosen to replace her as alderman for the 3rd Ward. Both campaigns were supported by Robinson and the Morris County Democratic organization.
But in the years since, Robinson claimed, Correa has become an unsuitable leader in his own right.
“The purpose of Dover First was to open up the town government to the people, and to 21st-century norms of conduct,” Robinson wrote. “It was not to trade one self-styled king for another. As vigorously as Alderman Correa fought against former Mayor Dodd, it has become clear that he has adopted Dodd’s leadership style.”
Notably, one member of Ruiz’s ticket, former Alderman Marcos Tapia, holds pro-life views. Tapia has said that abortion rights are “not something I would ever seek to undermine as a public official,” but he was left off of Gov. Phil Murphy’s endorsement list last year because of his views and ended up losing renomination by six votes.
Also running with Ruiz are two incumbents, Alderwoman Sandra Wittner and Alderman Humberto Quinones. The other incumbent up this year, Alderman Carlos Valencia, is sticking with Correa and will face Tapia in the 4th Ward.