Menendez primary challenger was a Republican until June

Gwen Diakos, who announced Thursday she will challenge U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez in the June Democratic primary, was a Republican until June 16 and voted in Republican primaries in 2008 and 2009.

According to Monmouth County voter registration records, Diakos switched her registration from unaffiliated to Republican in February 2008 in order to vote in that year’s GOP presidential primary.  Her registration remained Republican and she voted in the following year’s GOP primary.

On June 16, Diakos switched her registration to Democrat. Reached Friday Diakos said she tends not to vote along a party line.

“I’m an American, I can vote for whoever I want,” she said.  She said she does not remember who she voted for in the 2008 presidential primary, but that she wanted Hillary Clinton to win.

Asked why she voted Republican if she favored Clinton, Diakos said was hoping to keep a less favorable candidate out of the GOP race.

“I voted in the primary because I didn’t want any of the Ron Pauls to get in,” she said.  “He’s an isolationist.  I support foreign relations and he doesn’t and I was kind of afraid of that.”

“If you look at my website, I’m inherently a Republican and I’m inherently a Democrat. I’m an American, there is no way you can pin me down. I believe in the Constitution and whoever is upholding it the most will get my vote.”

No Republican has yet emerged to challenge for the Senate spot, but several names have surfaced including Jets owner Woody Johnson and state Senators Joe Kyrillos and Michael Doherty.

Menendez primary challenger was a Republican until June