The only real drama for tomorrow’s Burlington County Republican convention is whether Assemblyman Joe Howarth (R-Evesham) will show up.
By all appearances, it looks like the county GOP organization has more than enough votes to officially award their line for State Assembly in the 8th district to incumbent Ryan Peters (R-Hainesport) and Sheriff Jean Stanfield.
It is not immediately known whether Howarth, a two-term assemblyman and former freeholder and Evesham councilman, will attend tomorrow’s convention. It is not clear whether Howarth supporters will nominate him from the floor and force a vote.
Convinced that Howarth had attempted to switch parties in January along with State Sen. Dawn Addiego (D-Evesham), Burlington GOP chairman Sean Earlen announced six weeks ago that he was withdrawing party support for Howarth’s re-election.
Since then, Earlen scored a candidate recruitment coup when the hugely popular Stanfield agreed to run. Now 14 of 15 Burlington GOP municipal chairs have endorsed Peters and Stanfield, making Howarth’s path extraordinarily limited.
The 8th was the closest Assembly race in the state two years ago, with Peters and Howarth barely winning. Democrats put these two seats at the top of their target list this year, with former Assembly staffer Gina LaPlaca and Evesham attorney Mark Natale as their likely candidates.
Howarth did not return a 1:18 PM call seeking comment.