EVESHAM TWP, N.J. – Assemblyman Joe Howarth (R-8) lost the party line in this year’s primary election after Republicans (and some Democrats) accused him of trying to switch parties in the wake of Senator Dawn Addiego’s defection to the Democrats.
Howarth has repeatedly denied the charge, but there’s now some hard evidence that the embattled career Republican official is receiving substantive financial support from organizations tied to the South Jersey Democrat Machine.
Recently filed reports with the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission (ELEC) show Howarth receiving $8,200 from the Iron Workers Local #399 PAC on May 20th and another $8,200 from IBEW Local 351 on May 24th.
Democrat Senate President Steve Sweeney, who was instrumental in securing Addiego’s defection to the Democrats, is a long time member of Local #399 and a leader in the parent union power structure.
U.S. Rep. Donald Norcross (D, NJ-01), brother of South Jersey Democrat power house George Norcross III, is a member of Local 351.
Both labor unions have strong and historic ties to South Jersey Democrats.
The Big Labor cash infusion might still prove insufficient. Howarth’s leading primary opponents – Assemblyman Ryan Peters and former Sheriff Jean Stanfield – have out-raised him by a margin of 7-to-1.
The increasingly personal LD8 primary race has revolved around two issues: (1) Howarth’s alleged failed jump to the Democrats and (2) whether Howarth’s “MAGA” candidacy is genuine. Democrats, for their part, are licking their chops as the punches fly. They hope to flip the suburban Philadelphia district in November since Howarth and Peters were elected by less than 1% of the vote in 2017.
LD8 Republicans will select between four candidates (including Howarth, Peters and Stanfield) for two Assembly nominee slots next Tuesday, June 4th. The entire General Assembly – 80 seats across 40 districts – is on the ballot this year.