BURLINGTON – Democrat Richard Dennison launched his campaign to unseat State Sen. Diane Allen today by linking her to George W. Bush, but he was unable to identify a single time he would have voted differently than her in Trenton.
The 29-year-old lawyer/undertaker, who interned in the Clinton White House, called on Allen to "declare independence from George W. Bush and his politics of special interest, so that we may best serve our true constituents, the people of the 7th district."
Standing at a podium on the sidewalk in downtown Burlington alongside an easel with a written pledge on it, Dennison then signed his name to the pledge, and delivered a copy to Allen's assistants inside the office, who said the senator was not present.
"It appears that Mr. Dennison has no idea why he's running," Richard Levesque, executive director of the Burlington County Republican Party, said later in a telephone interview. "To me it appears Mr. Dennison is all rhetoric and no substance."
But Dennison insisted Allen's nexus with Bush goes behind her fund-raising, and charged that a donor to Allen — Parsons Infrastructure and Technology Group — was also a campaign contributor to the President, and received contracts in Iraq as part of the war reconstruction effort.
Confronted with his specific objections to Allen's voting record in Trenton, Dennison ducked the question. His staff later amplified the point about how Allen, who represents a Democratic district, may vote with the majority party most of the time, against the grain of the GOP — but that her friendliness on Jersey issues belies her coziness with a failed president and Parsons.
"Everywhere I go in the district people are expressing their disappointment for the war in Iraq," said Dennison, who grew up here, and whose father owns a prominent funeral home in the area. "It's time for Sen. Allen to tell us where she stands. She never once apologized for her critical role, even flying down to Texas to beg Bush to run. …I question her judgment profoundly."
Pressed again on Trenton-specific issues, Dennison said he believes he would support the governor's budget.
Levesque was happy to respond to that.
"If Rich supports a budget that contains $2 billion in new spending, he needs to do his homework on the budget," Levesque said.
BAGHDAD OR BURLINGTON CITY? Whose side are you on anyway, Diane? Bush's or ours?
Burlington, NJ — Democratic State Senate candidate Rich Dennison today issued the first challenge of the 2007 election to his opponent, Republican Senator Diane Allen, by calling on her to follow his lead and sign a pledge condemning the many failures of the Bush Administration. "It's rather simple, Senator Allen can either prove her political independence right now or prove that she's just another George W. Bush lackey," said Dennison, of Florence, who points out that Allen was one of the original recruiters of Bush's candidacy
"Baghdad or Burlington City? Bush Republican Diane Allen needs to listen to the anger and resentment against her buddies in Washington and explain how their priorities are good for the people of Camden and Burlington Counties. She should join me and sign this pledge to set the record straight since she has refused to condemn any of George W. Bush's failures from day one," said Dennison, who added that Senator Allen conveniently avoids her Republican Party label in her campaigns. "She can't have it both ways. She thinks she can fool the people of South Jersey by avoiding her affiliation but I'm going to hold her accountable for who she really is."
"Everywhere I go throughout the district, people are expressing their extreme disappointment in the direction of our country — whether it's the war in Iraq, the widening gap between the haves and the have nots, the millions of American who don't even have the most basic health coverage, or the Bush Republican scheme to gamble away our Social Security on the risky stock market.
"Now it's time for Senator Allen to tell all of us where she stands, point by point, on each of these failures. An issue is an issue, whether at the federal, state, or local levels and Senator Allen has an obligation to respond.
"Not once has Senator Allen ever apologized for her key role in recruiting George W. Bush to run for President — even flying down to Texas on bended knee to beg him to run.
"Not once has Senator Allen ever spoken out against the Bush-McCain Plan to escalate the war in Iraq, while more of our men and women in the military are being put in harms way without the proper tools to complete their mission — while somehow we continue to spend a billion dollars every four days over there.
"Not once has Senator Allen condemned the foul conditions of our V.A. hospitals where our recovering soldiers aren't receiving the care or respect they rightfully deserve.
"Not once has Senator Allen fought the Bush administration on trying to curb rising gas prices which impacts our small business as well as our ability to vacation with our families.
"Does Allen stand with Bush on wasting more of our tax dollars in Baghdad or does she stand with the rest of us who are left picking up the tab and neglected in the process? It's time for Senator Allen to choose once and for all."