Burlington County Republicans have cut their support for Assemblyman Joe Howarth (R-Evesham), citing his silence in the wake of State Sen. Dawn Addiego’s (D-Evesham) defection to the Democratic party.
“Following Senator Dawn Addiego’s announcement last week that she was abandoning her principles to become a Democrat, Assemblyman Joe Howarth cut off all contact with me and other Republican leaders in an apparent attempt to join Senator Addiego in defecting,” Burlington Republican Chairman Sean Earlen said. “After finally speaking with Joe, and weighing his words and his actions against contrary evidence, I consulted with other party leaders and arrived at the indisputable fact that Joe Howarth no longer deserves party support.”
While the majority of the eight legislative district falls in Burlington County, parts of the same are in Camden and Atlantic Counties.
Camden County Republican Chairman Richard Ambrosino told the New Jersey Globe he would defer to Earlen and withdraw support.
Atlantic County Republican Chairman Keith Davis said that his county convention is scheduled for March 30 and his line for the 8th district will be awarded at that time. Since Hammonton is the only Atlantic municipality in the district, the local party will make the choice.
Hours after Addiego announced she was joining the Democratic party late last month, Assemblyman Ryan Peters (R-Lumberton) announced he would remain a Republican. Howarth did not say anything on the matter for two days.
Sources have told the New Jersey Globe that, during those two days, Howarth was unreachable to Burlington County Republicans.
Those same sources believe Howarth was attempting to lobby Democrats to join Addiego on that side of the aisle. Addiego and others have told the New Jersey Globe that Assembly Majority Leader Lou Greenwald attempted to flip Howarth.
Sources say Burlington Democrats pushed back on Greenwald’s entreaties to Howarth, and the latter was left out in the cold.
Howarth denies any attempts to become a Democrat. He has said his silence in the days following Addiego’s defection was due to shock and staffing issues related to the defection.
Republican leaders at the municipal and county levels in Burlington did not believe Howarth and had lost trust in the assemblyman.
Howarth has said he intends to run for reelection, and it’s not clear whether the loss of party support changes that
But, with the backing of county Republican organizations gone and $15,810 in his campaign account, Howarth’s path to reelection is all but closed.
“I have informed Joe Howarth that the Burlington County Republican Committee cannot in good conscience support his bid for reelection,” Earlen said. “While it is up to Joe to decide if he will continue to serve out the remainder of his term, his time as a candidate supported by our organization is over.”