It appears that John Adler and his cronies have flouted the law in an attempt to defraud voters. So the federal authorities should step in and make John Adler finally answer questions that he’s been ducking for a week now.
– NJ GOP Chair Asm Jay Webber
John Adler tried to avoid, side-step, then issue a non-denial denial on claims that he and his campaign engineered a fake Tea Party candidate to drain right-wing votes from Jon Runyan. The story, simmering for weeks, broke open on Courier Post reporter Jane Roh’s Oct. 8 blueprint of the scheme with its architect, Camden County Democratic operative Steve Ayscue, and Adler Campaign Manager Geoff Mackler. Adler’s denial is not particularly reassuring. It remains to be seen whether NJ-3 voters buy it.
Tuesday, NJ GOP Chairman Assemblyman Jay Webber filed a complaint with the FEC charging Adler broke campaign finance laws by recruiting and assisting the sham candidate, Peter DeStefano, who – the jig apparently up – ditched an NJ-3 debate entirely (except as political football).
While we’re at political footballs, Jon Runyan now stands more likely than a week ago of capturing back for the Republicans the seat they held since 1993, save for Adler’s freshman season. I’m hard-wired to hate that fact, even though Adler’s 2-year House record is uninspiring. Runyan strikes anyone paying attention as unready and unqualified and not even much of a civic participant. It’s a sad-assed desultory choice to support Adler, though I understand those who make it.
But do we want our elections mucked up with dirty tricks, no matter which side of the aisle they emerge from? This is where the rubber meets the road. I’m not so much a Democrat that I’m willing to check honor at the door so I can get somebody with (barely) a D after their name elected. We’re supposed to be for clean elections, except when we need a little help? For transparency in government except when we run our candidates? Screw that.
Webber has every right to track DeStefano’s sudden appearance, and to follow the money that fueled it. Webber’s list of accusations are serious stuff: unreported in-kind donations from Adler to DeStefano that exceed contribution limits, with similar accusations against the Camden County Democratic Committee, and companion accusations against DeStefano (if anybody cares).
I know the argument that the GOP isn’t clean. Please, they invented this crap. Okay, perfected it. I know the argument that Runyan has to be taken out at any cost. I don’t sympathize. Take him out on the issues, on his own ineptitude. If you think you’re better, then be better. Democrats who engineer this kind of scheme, whether ham-handedly carried out or not, put the rest of us in the crappy position of having to distance ourselves. If that makes me a lousy Democrat, then I’m a lousy Democrat.