Two Republicans seeking to unseat Assemblywoman Linda Stender (D-Fanwood) thought it was an April fool's day joke when they heard she won a seat on the Assembly Appropriations Committee. This marks the fourth consecutive year Republicans are running a campaign that calls the incumbent "Stender the Spender." Stender is 1-2 in those races.
Stender lost a close race for Congress in 2006 against incumbent Michael Ferguson, losing by just one percentage point. She was re-elected to the Assembly in 2007, comfortably but not impressively. When Ferguson retired in 2008, she was the favorite to win his House seat, but she wound up losing to Republican Leonard Lance (R-Clinton) by seven points.
"If this isn't a real life example of putting the fox in charge of the hen house I don't know what is," said former Scotch Plains Mayor Martin Marks. "Linda Stender's record on taxes is as unfriendly to taxpayers as can be. Naming her to the Appropriations Committee is something the taxpayers of New Jersey can't afford." Marks, who won 47% of the vote against State Sen. Nicholas Scutari (D-Linden) in 2003, is running with political newcomer William "Bo" Vastine against Stender and four-term Assemblyman Gerald Green (D-Plainfield).