Assemblyman Ryan Peters said he was extremely confident as he cast his ballot in Hainesport Tuesday morning.
“I have faith in the county organization. Chairman Sean Earlen, the leadership that he’s showed throughout this primary period has been exceptional,” Peters said. “Our messaging has been strong, certainly better than his. I love my running mate, Jean Stanfield. I mean, I think her history of just winning every election in Burlington County for the past 20 years has been great.”
Peters and Stanfield, who retired from her long-held role as Burlington County Sheriff last month, are running against Assemblyman Joe Howarth, who is mounting an off-the-line bid as a Trump Republican after losing the backing of the county party.
Earlen, Burlington County’s Republican chairman, and other GOP leaders in the district dropped their support for Howarth after State Sen. Dawn Addiego defected to the Democratic party earlier this year.
Hours after Addiego announced she was leaving the party, Peters said he was staying a Republican. Howarth said nothing on the matter for two days.
He denies having attempted to switch, saying that he stayed quiet and did not return calls from Republicans in the district because he was in shock over the defection of his longtime friend and onetime running mate.
But, multiple sources on both sides of the aisle have told the New Jersey Globe that Howarth attempted to defect only to have those efforts stymied by local Democrats in Burlington, who said they would not back the Assemblyman in the primary.
A fourth Republican candidate, Jason Huf, is also seeking the nomination.
On the Democratic side, county-backed candidates Gina LaPlaca, a former top aide to Assembly Speaker Joe Roberts, and attorney Mark Natale, an Evesham Democratic district leader, face a challenge from Evesham Democrat Johnny Bravo, who’s staking his bid on the voters’ fond memories of the Cartoon Network character who shares his name.
Polls close at 8 p.m.
“Just looking forward to a good result tonight,” Peters said.