Former Atlantic County Prosecutor Jeffrey Blitz, a Republican who Democrats recruited to run for assembly in the 2nd Legislative District, has turned down the offer.
“I made it known early on after I gave it some thought that I didn’t want to be a candidate,” said Blitz, 67, who served for 22 years as county prosecutor.
Democrats were hoping to launch a major offensive against incumbents Vince Polistina (R-Egg Harbor Township) and John Amodeo (R-Margate), but top state party insiders felt that Blitz was the only potential candidate who could be competitive in the current political climate.
Last month, the Press of Atlantic City reported that Blitz’s name surfaced in a Democratic poll, although by that time, Blitz said, he had already taken his name out of the running.
One high ranking state Democrat said that without Blitz, the party will not spend significant resources in the district, instead concentrating on playing defense in the two places they feel that Republicans have a shot at winning: District 1 in South Jersey, a traditionally Republican district that is represented by three Democrats in the legislature; and District 14 in Central Jersey, where freshman Assemblyman Wayne DeAngelo (D-Hamilton) is considered particularly vulnerable.
One potential candidate in the 2nd Legislative District, Freeholder Alisa Cooper, could not immediately be reached for comment. Other names floated last month include Atlantic City Councilman G. Bruce Ward and Rev. Reginald Floyd.
Republicans say that Democrats are having trouble filling their slate this year for the two assembly and three freeholder slots, in part because of Gov. Corzine’s dwindling popularity.
“All I know is there’s a Press of Atlantic City article in early January where [Atlantic County Democratic Chairman] Pat D’Arcy is quoted as saying he will have his assembly ticket by the third week in January. It is now March 12,” said Atlantic County Republican Chairman Keith Davis. “This week he was quoted saying he was hoping they would have candidates in time for their convention.”
The Atlantic County Democrats' convention is scheduled for Sunday, March 22.
D'Arcy could not immediately be reached for comment.
"I think it's a combination of factors," said Davis. "Vince and John are very strong, and many people don't want to run with the Governor."