The best feud ever

Political feuds don’t get much better than the one between Republican State Senator James Turner and Democratic Assemblyman Kenneth Gewertz in Gloucester County in the early 1970’s. Turner was so determined to destroy his rival that he conspired to plant drugs in Gewertz’s car and garage. But the tactic went bad after the police detective sensed that the tip he received from Turner might not be completely altruistic. An investigation led to Turner’s arrest on charges that he hired three known criminals to plant a large amount of amphetamines in the Gewertz home. A jury convicted the 44-year-old Turner in less than two hours and he was sentenced to five years in prison. Turner was removed from the Senate after his conviction, but refused to drop his bid for re-election to a second term in 1973. Gloucester County Republicans withdrew their endorsement and ran Sheriff Walter Fish as a write-in candidate after a Superior Court Judge rebuffed their bid to remove him from the ballot. The seat was an easy pickup for the Democrats: Raymond Zane, a Gloucester County Freeholder, defeated Turner by a wide margin. (Turner still managed to get more than 20% of the vote.) Gewertz, perhaps one of the most colorful men to ever serve in the New Jersey Legislature, was able to keep his seat until Democrats finally dumped him in 1979.

The best feud ever