DOVER, N.J. – Dover Forward, the organization formed last year with the goal of restoring faith and trust in Dover’s municipal government, announced today that First Ward Alderwoman Sandra Wittner will be the group’s candidate for Mayor in the upcoming Democratic primary.
If elected, Wittner would be the first Latina Mayor in Dover history and only the second Latina to be elected Mayor in the entire state of New Jersey.
A healthcare professional, resident of Dover since 2014, and mother of two, Wittner was re-elected unopposed to a third term in 2022 after defeating her primary opponent by nearly 45%. She has spent her time as Alderwoman working to increase governmental transparency and make Town Hall more accessible to residents. If elected, her primary goal would be to accelerate those efforts.
“I first ran for Alderwoman in 2018 because our town government wasn’t serving the needs of all of our residents,” said Wittner. “I’ve done all I can to try and change that, and to have a government that listens more than it speaks. We have definitely made some progress, but there is still much more work left to do. I’m ready to do that work as Mayor.”
Running with Wittner for seats on the Dover Board of Aldermen will be T.C. McCourt in the First Ward, Jennifer Podesta in the Second Ward, and Isaiah Strickland in the Third Ward.
First Ward candidate T.C. McCourt has lived in Dover with his husband Bryan since 2018 and is a former member of the Dover Planning Board and the Zoning Board of Adjustment. He also previously served as the Secretary of the Morris County Heritage Commission. Currently working as a Sales Enablement Coordinator for Paige Electric, McCourt is the President of the Morris County Young Democrats and Vice Chair of the Morris County Democratic Committee’s LGBTQA+ Caucus. If elected, he would be Dover’s first openly gay Alderman.
Second Ward candidate Jennifer Podesta is a lifelong Dover resident, along with her husband Daniel and their two sons. A 2005 graduate of Dover High School, Podesta has worked as an administrative assistant with Wharton Public Schools since 2014. In addition, she and Daniel are the proud owners of Dany’s Got Wood, a custom woodworking business based in Dover that they started in 2018. If elected, Podesta would be the first Latina in Dover history to represent the Second Ward on the Board of Aldermen.
Third Ward candidate Isaiah Strickland is also a lifelong Dover resident who now calls Salem Village home. A 2003 graduate of Dover High School, Strickland is a professional DJ (a.k.a. DJ525) with over 15 years of experience. He is also a former employee of the Department of Public Works in Parsippany and Wharton. If elected, Strickland would be the first Black man to serve as an Alderman in Dover history.
“I am thrilled to be running with a team that is energized, enthusiastic, and ready to govern for the future of Dover,” Wittner said. “Our town is crying out for the next generation to lead, and that’s exactly what we intend to do.”
Wittner, McCourt, Podesta, and Strickland plan to compete for the organization line at the Dover Democratic Committee’s (DDC) Nominating Convention on Sunday, March 26th. However, the slate plans to continue its campaign regardless of the convention’s outcome.
“While I hope to speak to our committee members’ sense of duty directly and bluntly, I am under no illusion as to how this convention will likely end,” said Wittner. “However, I passionately believe in openness and transparency. So I am going to be honest with the DDC members about why I believe I am both worthy of their endorsement AND the exact type of leader our entire town needs at this moment.”
In addition to candidates for Mayor and the Board of Aldermen, Dover Forward will field a full slate of candidates for the Dover Democratic Committee.
Wittner and Dover Forward have decided against fielding a candidate for Alderman in the Fourth Ward and will encourage supporters to vote for incumbent Alderman Arturo “A.B.” Santana.