Democrats Succeed With Write-In Campaign
Caldwell will see a contested council race in the fall.
Updated Wednesday, June 6, at 4:13 p.m.
After no Democratic candidates filed nominating petitions by the primary deadline in the Caldwell Council race, the borough’s Democratic Committee chose an alternate route and launched a successful last-minute, write-in campaign.
Edward Durkin and Stephen Modica received a total of 80 and 63 votes respectively in the Democratic Primary Tuesday, more than enough to appear on the November ballot according to Essex County Clerk Chris Durkin. Durkin said write-in candidates need at least 25 votes, the same number of signatures required when filing a nominating petition.
Edward Durkin received 45 machine votes and 35 absentee votes, while Monika received 34 machine votes and 29 absentee votes.
These are unofficial results which will be certified by Friday afternoon, the county clerk said.
"We are happy the party has nominated two outstanding candidates who are eager to face the voters of Caldwell in the fall election," Caldwell Democratic Committee Vice-Chair Jeff Curley, stated in an email to Patch Tuesday night.
Durkin and Modica will challenge Republican incumbents Peter Murray and Richard Hauser for two open three-year terms in the fall election. Murray and Hauser are finishing up their first term on the council.
Murray said Wednesday he was not surprised by the write-in campaign, saying he and his running mate had heard rumors of the possibility. He said the Republicans do not plan to review the results.
“There’s not going to be any reviewing of it. I will take them at their word that they filled them out correctly,” Murray said.
Murray said having challengers will give him and Hauser a better opportunity to discuss their accomplishments and plans.
“If you are running unopposed, a lot of things sometimes go unseen,” Murray said. “I think this is going to be a wonderful opportunity for [Hauser] and I to discuss what we have done.”
He added, “We are looking forward to what they are doing differently, seeing the changes they would be looking to make. It will be very interesting to see that.”
Durkin, 31, a lifelong resident of Caldwell, works as a financial planner and is pursuing a master’s in business administration from Caldwell College. He is a cousin of Essex County Clerk Chris Durkin of West Caldwell.
“Stephen and I are excited to go door-to-door and bring our fresh ideas to the people of Caldwell. Public service has been instilled in me from an early age and I am honored to be nominated by the Caldwell Democratic Party,” Durkin stated in a release Tuesday.
Modica, 47, a medical librarian, added, “Edward and I believe that you need to earn the votes from the people of Caldwell and that is what we intend to do.”