Kearny Democratic Party removes Doyle from County Committee in her 54th consecutive year of service

Doyle | McCurrie

Well, the silly season in Kearny sure got intriguing thanks to one stroke of the pen.

Kearny Councilwoman and mayoral candidate Carol Jean Doyle, who has been an elected member of the Kearny Democratic County Committee since 1969, and who has been as loyal to the party as anyone before or after her, has been notified she is to be removed from that position by the party’s chairwoman Susan McCurrie, who recently replaced former chairman Alberto G. Santos.

Doyle says she received a letter from McCurrie dated Oct. 4, 2023, in the mail, informing her of her removal because she was running for the position of mayor as an “Independent,” even though she says she has absolutely no desire to quit the Democratic Party. (Doyle is actually running as an unaffiliated Democrat, not an Independent.)

“I have been on the Kearny County Committee for more than 50 years and they are removing me because I had the audacity to run for mayor,” Doyle said. “They have already forgotten that while the county committee chose someone else to be the official candidate of the party, in a democracy, I have the right to seek the office by other means. By removing me, they are saying to the 20 people who wanted me to be the candidate that they don’t matter, either. The candidate who was chosen had a two-vote majority. Two. That is hardly overwhelming. So this is about as petty as it gets.”

McCurrie, meanwhile, says Doyle was well aware of the potential consequences of her decision to run off the party line.

“ … The town’s Democratic Party under its by-laws and under New Jersey Statute choose Peter Santana as the party’s candidate to run in the general election for the office of mayor,” McCurrie told The Observer.  “As this is a general election and not a primary, there would be one candidate representing the Democratic Party in the November election, and if filed one candidate representing the Republican Party and others representing independent candidate positions on the ballot.

“After Peter’s nomination by the Kearny Democratic Party, Carol Jean filed a petition in opposition to run as an independent candidate separating herself from the town’s Democratic Party. As a Democratic County Committee member, this is contrary to the party’s bylaws to run for office as a candidate under another designation, whether that be independent or otherwise.  Carol Jean was aware of this when she filed her petition in opposition of Peter, and a letter was forwarded to her formally confirming same.”

The letter from McCurrie lists several Democratic Party by-laws that could be applied to a committee person’s ouster.

Those reasons include:

  • The member has moved out of the district he or she was elected to represent.
  • The member has changed his or her political party registration to a political party other than the Democratic Party.
  • The member has officially endorsed or has publicly supported a candidate for political office which is a member of a political party other than the Democratic Party.

The first reason listed is appears moot since Doyle has not moved.

The second reason is appears moot because Doyle’s party affiliation has not changed.

The final reason may be moot, as well, since Doyle is supporting her own candidacy, which did not require her to change her party, but only to run as an unaffiliated Democratic candidate, not as an “Independent” candidate, which would have required a declaration to become a member of an actual “Independent” party.

McCurrie sent the notice to remove Doyle from the elected office she’s held for 54 consecutive years to Kearny Town Clerk Patricia Carpenter, Hudson County Clerk Junior Maldonado, HCDO executive director Juliette Vogt and HCDO chairman Anthony Vainieri.

The move by the Democratic Party comes just 26 days before the voters are to head to the polls to choose the town’s first new mayor since Santos was first elected in 1999.

The Democrats’ official candidate is current interim Mayor Peter P. Santana, who was seated in the summer by a 5-3 vote of the then sitting council. The Republican candidate is town realtor Sydney J. Ferreira, who is running for mayor for the second time in a two-year span. Doyle, though on paper is listed as an unaffiliated candidate, remains a Democrat and she says she will remain one long after this election ends.

This all occurred after the state’s June primary.

Now this is hardly the first time a Democrat has run off the party’s line for mayor, either, albeit the other instances were in primaries.

In 1999, then a councilman, Santos ran against a sitting mayor — Peter J. McIntyre, also a Democrat. There was no move to remove him from his county committee seat. That same year, Ed Callaghan, also a Democrat, ran against Santos and McIntyre. Others have also done the same including former Councilman James Mangin, also a long-time Democrat.

While all of those elections were, in fact, during a primary, only McIntyre was the party’s official nominee in the June 1999 contest.

Learn more about the writer ...

Kevin A. Canessa Jr. is the editor of and broadcaster at The Observer, a place where he has served on and off since 2006. He is responsible for the editorial content of the newspaper and website, the production of the e-Newspaper, writing several stories per week (including the weekly editorial), conducting live broadcasts on Facebook Live, including a weekly recap of the news — and much more behind the scenes. Between 2006 and 2008, he introduced the newspaper to its first-ever blog — which included podcasts, audio and video. Originally from Jersey City, Kevin lived in Kearny until 2004, lived in Port St. Lucie. Florida, for four years until February 2016 and in March of that year, he moved back to West Hudson to return to The Observer full time. Click Here to send Kevin an email.