Peter DeStefano says he’s just an “average Joe,” working voters at Wawas, diners, and beaches to get elected to the House.
But to Republican nominee Jon Runyan, the former Eagles tackle in a tough race to unseat Democratic Rep. John Adler, DeStefano is an irritant who could prove toxic.
The little-known DeStefano, a picture framer from Mount Laurel, is running as an independent candidate under the NJ Tea Party moniker in the Third Congressional District, which runs through Burlington and Ocean Counties and includes Cherry Hill in Camden County. The tag alone could draw votes away from Runyan.
After reviewing the 200-plus signatures on DeStefano’s nominating petitions and finding he had more than enough, Runyan’s campaign has continued to dig, looking for something to knock DeStefano off the ballot.
The campaign is considering a lawsuit alleging that those who signed may not have known that DeStefano was unaffiliated with a formal tea-party group, according to Runyan’s campaign consultant, Chris Russell.
Gee, I would call that a rather pointless distraction for a campaign that probably can use all the resources it can muster.
The Runyan campaign did uncover something a bit interesting, however, as the story tells us…
Marshall Spevak of Cherry Hill signed one of DeStefano’s petitions. Spevak lives just doors from Adler, and was active in Adler’s freshman House campaign in 2008. His father, Eric, has contributed to Adler campaigns and is an administrative law judge for the state Department of Labor and Workforce Development.
Sounds like Runyan is alleging that DeStefano is trying to pull a “Jay Russell” as it turns out, based on this (i.e., a third-party candidate who has the potential to screw up an election…the last noteworthy item I heard about from the NJ-03 contest was this “taxing” matter concerning Runyan).
And this June Inquirer story tells us the following about the Runyan campaign (which, apparently, is trying to embrace some of Baby Newton Leroy Gingrich’s Contract on America)…
“It’s back to the future. I’m seeing this all over the country,” said Larry Sabato, a University of Virginia political scientist who keeps an eye on federal races. “Republicans are hoping it’s 1994 all over again for two reasons: They sense a Republican wave and just as in 1994, they have a third force in politics.”
“Things like term limits (supported by Runyan but not Adler) have a permanent appeal,” Sabato said. “In fact, it has more appeal today than in 1994 because we have 50 additional scandals, maybe 100.”
Of course, Sabato doesn’t take time to name those “50 additional scandals, maybe 100,” a typical tactic for someone who once said that the “Swift Boat” liars were telling the truth in 2008, along with claiming that it would be “a national disgrace” to continue “the Clinton/Bush dynasty” (in an effort to attack Hillary Clinton…I always thought that was an idiotic construct) and the Democrats are the “mommy” party while the Repugs are the “daddy” party (all here).
Getting back to DeStefano/Adler/Runyan, yesterday’s Inquirer story also tells us the following…
In addition to his unhappiness with rising fuel prices and a barely regulated mortgage market, DeStefano said, he opposed the war in Iraq, which he believes was “started on a rumor.” He also is against the war in Afghanistan, which he said was helping a corrupt regime. He supports the military, he said, but believes the United States should be taking care of domestic problems.
After the 2008 general election, DeStefano switched to the Democratic Party. But “it didn’t take me much longer to find out it was worse,” he said.
“As far as I’m concerned, they are both full of crap,” he said.
He doesn’t have kind words for local tea-party organizations, who have made it clear from the start that they did not sponsor his candidacy.
The groups endorsed Justin Murphy over Runyan in the Republican primary. But last week, the West Jersey Tea Party, which has members in Burlington, Camden, and Gloucester Counties, endorsed the former Eagle.
They’re “shills” for the Republicans, DeStefano said.
That statement about DeStefano definitely intrigues me, I should add, though he has no shot at winning the general election, unfortunately (and I wouldn’t mind if he posed enough of a threat to Adler to make him remember that Democrats are supposed to have spines).
Welcome to Campaign 2010. This is going to be a Republican year, perhaps a big one. The question of how big will be resolved in states like Kentucky, where mainstream Republican candidates were defeated in primaries by Tea Party sorts like Rand Paul, and the public will have to decide if the GOP is too loony to rule.
Conway, the other guy in the race, is almost an afterthought, but a solid test case. He’s wicked handsome, moderate and Kentucky’s attorney general, which is perhaps the best office a Democratic candidate can hold these days. He has spent the past three years doing real-world populist things like suing pharmaceutical companies and cracking down on crime and drug abuse, which is epidemic among eastern Kentucky’s impoverished hill-country youth. Such activities are far more acceptable than voting for bank bailouts and stimulus packages, the burden that most incumbent Democratic members of Congress carry. But Kentucky is a fervent Republican state these days — Barack Obama is about as popular there as Tennessee — and Conway’s staffers admit they wouldn’t have a chance if a standard-issue Republican had won the primary. Paul, by contrast, is a fat target, which became apparent in Conway’s Fancy Farm speech.
By the way, here is a link to Conway’s speech.
And at this point, I hope our media just keep repeating over and over that this will be a big Republican electoral year. I honestly do. That way, they’ll look even stupider than they already are when this country realizes that we’re talking about a political party more concerned about mosques in New York City (more on that shortly), “terror babies,” and a nonexistent rise in Arizona immigrant crime than they are about trying to solve our country’s genuine problems and acts accordingly on Election Day.
I really wish Klein had spent just a few more words describing how, as noted here, Paul is totally out to lunch on the issue of Kentucky’s drug problems, as noted here (marijuana is that state’s number one cash crop, which to me is an even stronger argument for decriminalization at the least).
And to help Jack Conway, click here.
Dear American Taxpayer,
You are paying for the Ground Zero Mosque.
Chances are you’re in not in the 20% of people who support the blasphemous Ground Zero mega-mosque. But guess what? You are currently paying for the Imam who wants to build it to visit Saudi Arabia, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Bahrain and Qatar to raise money for it.
Uh, no – as noted here…
The right-wing media is attacking Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf’s upcoming State Department trip to the Middle East to “discuss Muslim life in America and religious tolerance,” by falsely claiming he will use the trip as a “taxpayer-funded fundraising jaunt” to finance construction of his Islamic cultural center in New York City. In fact, the State Department has made clear that fundraising of any kind is prohibited during the trip, and Rauf has previously participated in this program, first under President Bush.
And when it comes to wingnuttiness on this issue, I think you have to go a long way to find something crazier than this.
8/18/10: You know, just go ahead and call me a filthy, unkempt liberal blogger, but given the trillions spent on Dubya’s idiotic tax cuts and his war of choice in Iraq, I have a hard time getting worked up over “16 large” for this story (here).