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    NJ Dem Recruited Phony Tea Party Candidate

    NJ Dem Recruited Phony Tea Party Candidate

    What is it with my law school classmates?

    First it was Eliott Spitzer.

    Now it’s Congressman John Adler.  No, not in that way.

    Adler, a Democrat from southern New Jersey, is a freshman congressman, swept into office on Obama’s coattails in a conservative district.  Adler came out early against Obamacare, recognizing his precarious position, and has been among the most conservative Democrats in the House.

    Adler was popular in his district, but he really pulled a boneheaded move which may cost him the election now that it has become public.

    Adler’s campaign staff, apparently with Adler’s knowledge, set up a faux Tea Party candidate to run in order to take votes away from Adler’s Republican rival.

    As reported by the Cherry Hill (NJ) Courier Post, Adler campaign backed Tea Party candidate

    Congressman John Adler’s campaign and the Camden County Democratic Committee recruited “”NJ Tea Party” candidate Peter DeStefano to confuse conservative voters and hurt Adler’s Republican challenger this fall, Democratic operatives say.

    “The goal was to take 5 percent of (Republican Jon) Runyan’s vote,” said a Democrat with direct knowledge of the Adler campaign and CCDC operations….

    Regional Tea Party groups had never heard of DeStefano until the Adler campaign released partial results of an internal poll last summer that indicated he might be a viable third-party spoiler….

    Democrats said Adler’s recent allegiance with conservatives on a number of issues was calculated to help him hang on to his seat, held for 25 years by Republican Jim Saxton. Which is why the DeStefano plan, announced before three dozen young party volunteers at CCDC headquarters last May, struck some as foolish….

    “A lot of people said, ‘This is not how you win.”’

    The Courier Post has an extensive investigative article in this morning’s paper, as well, Dems Pick Spoiler Candidate.

    I think my classmates are doing pretty well on “legal ethics,” a subject taught in law school.  Other types of ethics, not so well.

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    John Adler is particularly vulnerable over this scandal because he hails from the one Camden County community contained in the 3d Congressional District, Cherry Hill.

    Burlington County and Ocean County communities dominate the district. Even though the lead on playing political hardball in South Jersey has been taken by Camden County Democrats over the years, via their reputationally ruthless County Chairman, George Norcross, this will send some Democrats in the other two counties scurrying for the woodwork.

    And, it will inevitably undercut Adler's "boyish" image.

    I would look for this to not only energize Republicans and Independents to turn out big for Jon Runyan, but also for it to be seen as a blatantly repulsive, but not entirely unexpected example of Camden County dirty pool, including by many Democrats in Burlington and Ocean counties.

    They will have to "survive" this scandal in counties that are BOTH far more conservative than Camden County. And regardless how involved or knowlegable they individually may have been in the plot, they will likely point the finger at Camden and Norcross, and swear it was all their fault.

    In other words, this has the potential for very sharply splitting Democrats in that South Jersey district, and for Adler to take a big hit as a result.

    In the mean time, Adler will likely deny any personal knowledge of the scam, but no one with any sense will believe him.

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