Third- party candidate Peter DeStefano is out with a mailer attacking Republican Jon Runyan’s stance on the federal Wall Street bailout.
The mailer accuses Runyan of initially favoring the bailout before changing his mind, calling the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) “business as usual.”
Though the ad clearly features DeStefano, there is no information as to who paid for it as required by law. Federal campaign expenditure reports show that DeStefano has not raised any money for his candidacy. He declared bankruptcy last year.
According to Runyan’s campaign, the ad is further proof that DeStefano is a plant by the opposition to draw votes away from the former NFL lineman. Runyan’s camp claims the language in the mailer is identical to language used earlier in the campaign by Democratic incumbent U.S. Rep. John Adler, who has attacked Runyan over his flip on the issue several times.
The campaign offered no proof that the mailer had anything to do with Adler, but said it was mailed to 3rd District Republicans.
A report by the Courier Post earlier this month said DeStefano was a plant by the Adler camp designed to pull votes away from Runyan.
The story by reporter Jane Roh quoted South Jersey Democratic operatives who said the idea to run a third party candidate was the brain child of consultant Steve Ayscue, who recruited members of the Young Democrats to collect signatures for DeStefano.
DeStefano went on the ballot as a Tea Party candidate, but has since been disavowed by several Tea Party groups.
Adler has denied that he had anything to do with DeStefano’s candidacy as has DeStefano.
The allegation has clearly hurt Adler as his poll numbers slipped dramatically after it was reported.
A spokesman for Adler said the campaign knew nothing about the ad or DeStefano’s involvement in it.
“The Adler campaign knows nothing about this mailer or what other campaigns are doing,” said Adler spokeswoman Carol Gaskill, “Runyan’s position on the Bank Bailout has been reported by mainstream media sources. John Adler is hardly the only person appalled by Mr. Runyan’s support of the bank bailout. Clearly, the Republicans understand that they have an inadequate candidate that supports irresponsible positions, like bailing out the big banks.”