South Jersey Democrats might be taking a play from their own playbook as they spend what seems like a huge amount of money to elect Republican-turned-Democrat Francis Bodine to the State Senate – and two Democratic Assembly candidates — in the traditionally GOP eighth district.
Back in 1991, arguably one of the best Republican years in state political history, South Jersey Democrats – George Norcross was the Camden County Democratic Chairman in those days – spent an exorbitant about of money on Philadelphia network television ads blasting four-term Republican State Senator Lee Laskin. Laskin had held the sixth district Senate seat for fourteen years, and Republicans John Rocco and Thomas Shusted had held the two Assembly seats for twelve years.
Their candidate, 33-year-old John Adler, won easily in a year when Democratic State Senators in solidly Democratic districts were defeated. Rocco and Shusted won comfortably.
And in 2003, Democrats spent a fortune to help Frederick Madden take the fourth district Senate seat by just 63 votes, ousting incumbent Republican George Geist.
Already, Bodine and his running mates have spent over $550,000 – twice what the Republicans have expended in a district the Democrats haven’t won in 34 years. Democrats won’t say how much they plan to spend to defeat Senate candidate Phil Haines and Assembly candidates Dawn Addiego and Scott Rudder, but observers report that they see Bodine’s TV ads “all the time.”
Bodine, a Republican officeholder since 1976, switched parties earlier this year after the Burlington GOP said they would not support him for re-election to the State Assembly.