Ellen Sandman, who spent 21 years as the township administrator, will launch an independent bid for mayor at a fundraiser later this month. She is opposing Republican incumbent Thomas Andes and Democrat Andrea Zeydellis.
Sandman ran for mayor in 2007 and lost the Republican primary by just 12 votes – 1,245 to 1,235 – to Ted Hussa, after Gene Feyl decided not to seek re-election. She retired last year after serving as administrator in Mendham and Parsippany.
Andes was elected mayor in 2011, defeating Hussa in the GOP primary by about 500 votes, 61%-39%. He won the general by about 830 votes, also 61%-39%, against Democrat Bob Grant, a former councilman and longtime party leader.
Zeydellis is the executive director of Better Together, an online marketing company that to help non-profits and government entities raise money.
Since Denville switched their form of government in 1972, a Democrat has never won a mayoral race.
Denville gave Rep. Mikie Sherrill (D-Montclair) a 656-vote plurality last year (53%-46%) but backed Republican U.S. Senate candidate Bob Hugin by 959 votes and GOP county clerk Ann Grossi by 637 votes. Kim Guadagno carried Denville by 699 votes in the 2017 governor’s race (54%-43%), while State Sen. Anthony R. Bucco won by 597 votes (55%-45%).
Donald Trump’s 2016 margin in Denville was 746.
Andes was unopposed for re-election in 2015.