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Editor’s Note: A previous version of this article said Foote was Giangiulio’s campaign manager. He is not.
Republican State Chairman Doug Steinhardt accused Democrats in the eighth district of running a false flag candidate.
Tom Giangiulio is mounting an independent Assembly bid in the eighth district, and Steinhardt claims he was put up to it by State Sen. Dawn Addiego.
“South Jersey Democrats are pathetic in their desperation to defeat Jean Stanfield and Ryan Peters,” said NJGOP Chairman Steinhardt. “They are going back to the well with running a fake MAGA candidate to try and dupe voters in LD-8. Sheriff Jean Stanfield and Navy SEAL Assemblyman Ryan Peters have outstanding resumes of public service and deserve broad support from the people of South Jersey.”
Addiego defected from the Republican Party in January. Assemblyman Joe Howarth lost re-election in the primary after the Burlington GOP pulled its support over a belief that he tried to join her on the other side of the aisle.
Howarth has denied the charges, but sources on both sides of the aisle have told the New Jersey Globe he attempted to switch.
After being tossed from the party line, Howarth mounted an off-the-line campaign not dissimilar to Giangiulio’s bid.
Both ran as MAGA candidates, and Peters, the only incumbent on the general election ballot, accused both of being fake Republicans, Howarth for his sudden and stark shift on President Donald Trump and Giangiulio for alleged ties to his once running mates.
It’s worth noting that Giangiulio filed on primary days hours before polls closed when it was unclear whether Howarth would be on the November ballot.
Peters and Stanfield face Democrats Gina LaPlaca and Mark Natale.
There’s little proof to Republicans’ claims, but there is some.
Giangiulio and Addiego construction businesses were housed in the same single-story building in Voorhees, and Addiego swore Giangiulio in as Waterford Mayor, a post he no longer holds.
They also point to Josh Foote’s involvement in the independent candidate’s campaign.
Steinhardt claimed Foote is Giangiulio’s campaign manager, but that’s not the case. The operative said he has been on a honeymoon in Florida for the past eight days, adding that he was not affiliated with the independent’s campaign at all.
Foote, a former Addiego aide and a former executive director of the Burlington GOP, sought to defend Howarth in Febraury, after reports of his attempted party switch began to appear.