Former Gloucester Twp. Councilman switches parties, will seek GOP nod for Assembly in District 4

Camden County Republicans have picked up a former Democrat to run for State Assembly in the 4th district.

At a rally tonight, the party plans to announce that former Gloucester Township Councilman Eugene E.T. Lawrence will switch parties and run as a Republican against incumbent Paul Moriarty (D-Washington Twp.) and whomever Democrats pick to replace outgoing Assemblywoman Sandra Love (D-Gloucester Township). Lawrence’s candidacy has been kept under wraps by Camden County Republicans, but they hyped it as a “game changer” last week.

In a statement, Lawrence aimed squarely at Governor Corzine’s budget proposals, criticizing him for eliminating the property tax deduction.

“The people of Gloucester Township and the 4th Legislative District are suffering today, and they are suffering because Jon Corzine has decided to try to balance his budget on the backs of middle class families,” said the former Camden County Chamber of Commerce and NAACP leader.

Republicans championed Lawrence’s work in favor of affirmative action, noting that he wrote Gloucester Township’s first affirmative action policy.

Lawrence lost his bid for re-election to 2006 along with fellow incumbent Marge Martin Martinis when Shelley Lovett and Dan Hutchison swept in on the mayoral slate of Cindy Rau-Hatton.

Rau-Hatton will run with Councilwoman Shelley Lovett, former Councilwoman Maureen McLaughlin, and former Board of Education President John Custodio. Democrats are backing David Mayer, a former Assemblyman and Councilman. Hutchison is seeking re-election on Mayer’s ticket.

McLaughlin’s father, John McLaughlin, is a former Executive Director of the Gloucester Township Democratic Party. He is expected to switch his party affiliation to the GOP tonight, and will lead an effort to move other Democratic leaders, specifically in the African-American community, to the Republican ticket.

Former Gloucester Twp. Councilman switches parties, will seek GOP nod for Assembly in District 4