Assemblywoman Jean Stanfield (R-Westampton) confirmed today that she will run for the State Senate in the 8th legislative district, setting up a race between two women who were once friends and running mates.
Stanfield will take on State Sen. Dawn Addiego (D-Evesham), who was elected as a Republican but switched to the Democratic Party in January 2019.
“I definitely intend to run,” Stanfield said, noting that Republicans have a convention and screening process that she intends to follow.
This will be the first time in New Jersey history when an incumbent assemblywoman challenged a sitting woman senator.
Stanfield and Addiego spent sixteen years working together as Burlington County Republicans, starting in 2003 when Stanfield ran for the Assembly and Addiego for freeholder. They again shared the GOP ticket a decade later when Stanfield won her sixth term as sheriff and Addiego was re-elected to the Senate.
In announcing her intention to run for Senate, Stanfield said she doesn’t bear any grudges toward Addiego.
“It’s not a personal thing,” Stanfield said. “I don’t think she’s serving her residents well.”
But Stanfield did acknowledge that many Republicans are bitter over the defection to the Democratic Party.
“People who worked so hard on her campaign, who contributed to her, are very upset about her switch.
Former State Sen. Diane Allen (R-Edgewater Park) endorsed Stanfield on Thursday.
“I proudly served in NJ’s State Senate for 20 years and can think of no finer woman to join those ranks than Jean Stanfield,” Allen said. “I saw firsthand the dedication and drive of Jean Stanfield as both Burlington County Sheriff and Assemblywoman. She works tirelessly for her constituents and is the true definition of a public servant.”
Allen had been among the Burlington Republicans who were angered over the party switch of Addiego, her former Senate colleague.
“I wholeheartedly endorse Jean Stanfield for State Senate in the 8th Legislative District and look forward to supporting her campaign to make the government in New Jersey work for the people again, not for the politicians,” Allen stated.
Stanfield had not expected to run for the Senate, a nod that was widely assumed to be going to Assemblyman Ryan Peters (R-Hainsesport).
Earlier this week, Peters announced that he would not pursue the senate seat and not seek re-election to a third term in the Assembly. He has three young children and as a U.S. Navy SEAL team commander, could be called up for an active tour of duty in 2021.
Republicans are expected to pick former Burlington County Freeholder Latham Tiver and Hammonton Councilman Michael Torrissi, Jr. to seek the open Assembly seats in the Burlington-Atlantic-Camden district.
Stanfield approves of both the picks, but also noted that the GOP process will determine her running mates.
“I know them both,” she said. “I’m delighted.”
Stanfield had planned to retire in 2019. Addiego’s party switch, followed by accurate speculation that Assemblyman Joseph Howarth (R-Evesham) also discussed becoming a Democrat, led her to challenge the incumbent in Republican primary.
She defeated him by 2,691 votes, a margin of roughly 2-1.
Stanfield was the top vote-getter in the 2019 general election, defeating Democrats Gina LaPlaca by 1,155 votes and Mark Natale by 1,958.|
Addiego was one of two major party switches in South Jersey in 2019.
Late in the year, Rep. Jeff Van Drew (R-Dennis) became a Republican after refusing to vote to impeach President Donald Trump.
With Trump’s help, GOP leaders pushed others out of the race and he won the Republican primary with 82%. He was re-elected with 52% in the general election against Democrat Amy Kennedy.