Madison voters will have one less candidate to choose from in the Borough Council general election in November.
Morris County Clerk Joan Bramhall following a hearing last week disallowed the nominating petitions submitted by Independent candidate Sam Cerciello.
The Madison Republican Committee had asked for the hearing, disputing the validity of some of the petition signatures.
In an interview with Patch, Cerciello admitted that his petitions had been altered with Wite-Out after he decided to drop out of the mayoral race to run again for council. But he insisted all the signatures were valid.
Cerciello, a registered Republican who owns his own contracting business, is backing Democrat Robert Conley in the mayoral race against GOP incumbent Mary-Anna Holden.
Former Councilman Martin Barbato and Volunteer Ambulance Corps President Robert Landrigan are running for the two available three-year council terms on the Republican ticket.
Retiree Robert MacDowell and realtor Carmela Vitale are running for the Democrats.
Cerciello said he will speak with Bramhall today to discuss his options. He could possibly appeal her decision or run as a write-in candidate in November.
As a write-in candidate for mayor in 2007, Cerciello collected more than 600 votes.
"If Councilman Cerciello elects to run as a write-in candidate, we would hope he would run a very upbeat campaign," said Madison Republican Committee chief Jerry Stevenson.
"I greatly appreciated Sam Cerciello’s endorsement of my candidacy," said Conley. "I feel bad that his change of plans may have caused the rejection of his petitions but he was facing an uphill battle at best; independent candidates have never fared well in Madison.
"I was certainly surprised at the opinion of the Chair of the Madison Republican Committee accusing Sam of “city” politics," he said. "I’ve known Sam for a long time and I don’t think that there was any intention of deception with the petitions, he was just trying to do what he thought was the right thing. It is now time to move forward and I look to a successful campaign with my running mates Carmela Vitale and Bob McDowell."