Assemblyman Ryan Peters (R-Lumberton) doesn’t think State Sen. Dawn Addiego’s (D-Evesham) defection to the Democratic party will do much to change his reelection race.
“I don’t think Dawn was going to be a factor in this race,” Peters told the New Jersey Globe. “She wasn’t on the ballot. It’s me at the top of the ticket whether Dawn was a Democrat or Republican, and I don’t think she was going to be a factor in this race anyway.”
The eighth legislative district, which both Addiego and Peters represent, is poised to host the most competitive Assembly races in the state in 2019. Peters, a first-term Assemblyman, won in 2017 by just 350 votes.
Last year, former Rep. Tom MacArthur (R-Toms River) lost to Rep. Andy Kim (D-Marlton) because the latter was able to gin up a huge margin, 34,630 votes, in Burlington. Kim won by 3,973 votes. All but one of the municipalities in the eighth legislative district are in Burlington.
But, Peters is banking on Democrats dissatisfied with tax hikes coming out of a Democrat-controlled Trenton to boost his candidacy.
“I think Democrats, and I say this with a straight face, I think Democrats are going to come out and vote for me because right now, they have 11 extra votes in the Assembly, why would they want two more?” Peters said. “When they bring these crazy bills up, there’s more room to negotiate.”
While the average voter in an election year where the governor or member of Congress is on the ticket might not be all that aware of what’s going on in the state’s capital, Assembly races are at the top of the ticket in 2019, meaning turnout will be low, and the average voter will be more aware of the workings of Trenton than they were in a year like 2017.
That’s still no guarantee, but there may be another silver lining for Peters — Addiego’s defection itself.
“This is a low turnout election,” Peters said. “When Republicans look and realize that someone that they had supported financially, knocked on doors for and believed in and then the first chance she had to flip, she jumped ship, I think they’re going to come out and support Republicans who aren’t afraid to stand for their values and principles even when the going gets tough.”