DOVER – James Dodd’s mayoral comeback has hit a roadblock.
His nominating petition was ruled invalid, because the acting town clerk determined that Dodd lives in Fredon, Sussex County, not Dover.
Dodd was not immediately available for comment.
Dodd, the town’s long time mayor, fell out of favor with Morris County Democrats four years ago and ran for reelection as an independent, narrowly losing to current mayor Carlyn Blackman.
He launched a reelection bid this year with plans to run in the Democratic primary.
Dodd appeared to be in great shape to return to town hall, given the fact the coalition that propelled Blackman to victory has split.
In addition to Blackman, also running for mayor are Ed Correa and Sandra Wittner.
Dodd would have been the fourth mayoral candidate, but his name already has been removed from the county clerk’s list of primary candidates.
Correa’s group, which calls itself Dover First, gleefully trumpeted the news on its Facebook page, saying that he (Correa) “keeps racking up the victories.”
According to Correa, Dodd’s residency “came into question when he sold his residence …. in Dover and moved to a house on a Christmas Tree farm that he purchased in Fredon Township …”
Residency is not as simple as it seems, so this can be an interesting legal case assuming it gets that far.
Many people own homes or property in two different locales and vote where they want to vote.
Late Friday, the Dodd campaign said a hearing on the matter is set for April 28 and it expressed confidence the former mayor and all his running-mates will be on the June 6 ballot. The case will be heard by Judge Stuart Minkowitz.
This is a show-cause hearing, meaning the burden of proof to show Dodd is ineligible to run will be on the acting clerk.
Here is the full statement from the Dodd campaign:
“We are thrilled to announce that today (Friday) a Morris County judge soundly rejected the baseless and cowardly attempts by our opponents to remove James Dodd, Claudia Toro and Sergio Rodriguez from the June 6 ballot. These desperate maneuvers were designed to undermine the democratic process and disenfranchise the voters of Dover. But justice has prevailed and our opponents’ malicious campaign to silence the voices of the people has been resoundingly defeated.
“From the outset, we have boldly declared that James, Claudia and Sergio are fully eligible to run for office and this ruling confirms that our opponents have been exposed as nothing more than petty, vindictive bullies. But we will not be cowed.by their underhanded tactics. We are more determined than ever to fight for the future of Dover and to bring positive, transformative change to our community.
“We have provided an overwhelming amount of evidence that James, Claudia and Sergio meet all residency requirements and are fully qualified to serve. Our opponents have been exposed as shameless liars who will stop at nothing to cling to their corrupt grip on power.
“As we continue our campaign, we remain steadfast in our commitment to the people of Dover. Our vision for a stronger, more prosperous Dover is gaining momentum and we will not rest until we have earned the trust and support of every voter in our community.”
“We extend our deepest thanks to our supporters who have stood by us through this challenging time. Together, we will show our opponents that the people of Dover will not be silenced or intimidated. We are ready to fight and win in the June [primary election.