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Dover Alderman Michael Scarneo is sworn in by Mayor Carolyn Blackman on February 7, 2023.

Scarneo is new Dover alderman

By David Wildstein, February 07 2023 10:20 pm

Michael Scarneo was selected to fill the vacant Third Ward seat as a Dover alderman tonight, replacing Adrian Ballesteros, who resigned last month after moving to California.

Scarneo, the planning board chairman and an ally of Democratic Municipal Chairman Edward Correa, won a 6-2 vote, with Sandra Wittner and Karol Ruiz voting against him.

The local Democratic Party submitted three names to the governing body: Scarneo, Correa, and Hope Summerset, a social worker for the Morris County Housing Authority.

There were questions about Summeret’s eligibility under the Hatch Act, which bans federal employees from running for partisan public office.  Her salary in Morris County is 100% funded by the U.S. government.

Summerset had won four votes on the first ballot.

Dover Democrats had been sharply divided in 2022 after then-Morris County Democratic Chairman Chip Robinson refused to give the organization line to the local organization-backed candidates, a move that contributed to Robinson being pushed out of the county chairman post.    That led to three incumbents, including Correa, losing the Democratic primary.

Mayor Carolyn Blackman has not announced if she plans to seek re-election to a second term.  Three other aldermen are up this year: Jessica Cruz in the first ward, Judith Rugg in the second ward, and Arturo Santana in the fourth ward.

Perennial candidate T.C. McCourt had briefly and informally sought the Democratic nomination for mayor but has now decided he will not run.

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