Lackluster NJ primary election settles one internal party squabble

David Madden
June 08, 2019 - 4:00 am
Election Day

John Gibbins/San Diego Union-Tribune/TNS/Sipa USA

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MOUNT HOLLY, NJ (KYW Newsradio) — This week’s New Jersey primary election produced no surprises, but did settle one political dispute in Burlington County.

Two-term Republican Assemblyman Joe Howarth was rumored to be ready to switch parties in the Eighth Legislative District, where State Senator Dawn Marie Addiego jumped to the Democrats in late January.

He insists he wasn’t, but party leaders didn’t endorse him for a third term.

So, Howarth turned into a full-fledged Donald Trump supporter, a tactic that Rowan University political scientist Ben Dworkin says was a long shot.

“He was a Johnny Come Lately candidate to Trump Republicanism,” Dworkin told KYW Newsradio. “He had not embraced the Make American Great Again movement in this way until he had no other option and was effectively a candidate without a country.”

The party-endorsed candidates, fellow incumbent Ryan Peters and former Burlington County sheriff Jean Stanfield, were easy victors.

“You have a changing demographic but the main line Republican organization that is there still has good lists,” Dworkin added. “It’s still well-funded. They have very smart people as their consultants and in their leadership and so certainly they get credit for beating back the Howarth insurgency.”

However, he suggests the Eighth District will be hotly contested in the fall with Democrats making big gains in Burlington County that could well be reflected at the polls.

In fact, he sees this race as the most expensive one in the state for two seats in the Assembly.