Burlco tea partyers lose to GOP regulars

At Friendship Firehouse in Woodbury, John Tierney exits the booth as the site's 50th voter. Turnout was light for poll workers (from left) Mary E. Kubiak, Kristen Venable, and Mary Carter. In the last general election, about 500 voted.
At Friendship Firehouse in Woodbury, John Tierney exits the booth as the site's 50th voter. Turnout was light for poll workers (from left) Mary E. Kubiak, Kristen Venable, and Mary Carter. In the last general election, about 500 voted. (MICHAEL S. WIRTZ / Staff Photographer)
Posted: June 06, 2013

The Burlington County Republican Committee handily beat back a rare tea-party challenge in the race for six seats in county and state government in Tuesday's primary elections.

"It's not even close, as I had suspected, and clearly our message and what we have accomplished in the county - cutting taxing and spending - resonates with the members of the GOP," Committee Chairman Bill Layton said. "I hope that this is a lesson that in the future, these groups work with us . . . vs. against us."

The incumbents, Sheriff Jean Stanfield of Westampton and Freeholder Joe Donnelly of Cinnaminson, defeated William E. Moore 3d of Edgewater Park and Stephen "Lance" Silver of Medford, respectively. They captured more than 80 percent of the vote.

The challengers, supported by the West Jersey Tea Party, ran under the banner Republicans4Burlco, but found little support despite demonstrations last month at a Gov. Christie fund-raiser in Moorestown and also against a gun-buyback event in Mount Holly.

"Even though we had less than a stellar performance, we are happy with the results. . . . We started out underfunded, unknown, and too late," said Bill Haney, founder of the tea-party group.

Stanfield, sheriff for 12 years, will face off against Democrat James Kostoplis of Bordentown, while Donnelly will vie against Democrat Reva Foster of Willingboro. Those Democrats were unopposed in their primary.

In Camden County, incumbent Democratic Freeholders Edward T. McDonnell of Pennsauken and Carmen G. Rodriguez of Merchantville defeated four challengers who ran under various slogans. The challengers were Thomas J. Stearns Jr. and Amy La Conte-Smith, both of Blackwood and who both ran unsuccessfully before, and Chris Kehner of Pennsauken and Ralph T. Gorgo Jr. of Cherry Hill.

In the region's legislative races, there were Republican primary contests in the Sixth, Seventh, and Eighth Districts.

The winner in the Sixth District Senate race was Sudhir Deshmukh of Voorhees, who was endorsed by the Camden and Burlington County Republican Committees. The district includes municipalities in each county. He beat Robert Shapiro of Haddonfield, who ran under the slogan "Bob's for Jobs."

Deshmukh will take on Democratic Sen. James Beach in November.

In the Seventh District, Jeffrey Banasz of Moorestown and Anthony Ogozalek of Delran, who were endorsed by the GOP Committee, defeated tea-partyers Constance Hare Murray of Moorestown and Joe Siano of Burlington City.

They will oppose Democratic Assemblymen Herb Conaway Jr. of Delran and Troy Singleton of Mount Laurel.

In the Eighth District, the winners were GOP Committee-endorsed candidates Assemblyman Chris Brown and Maria Rodriguez-Gregg, both of Evesham. The losers were W. Scott Fay of Medford and Gary Jacques of Westampton, also backed by the tea party.

The victors will oppose Democrats Ava Markey of Marlton and Robert McGowan of Medford Lakes.

In Atlantic City, Mayor Lorenzo Langford won the nod to run for reelection against Atlantic County Freeholder Charles Garrett, a challenger endorsed by the established Democratic Party. Retired city Police Officer Dave Davidson Jr. also competed in the race.

Langford will take on Republican Don Guardian in the general election.

In Medford Township, Republican Councilmen James R. Pace, Jeffrey S. Beenstock, and Charles J. Watson all won the bid to run for reelection, beating challenger Stanley J. Filimon. The three men were elected two years ago after challenging the county committee's endorsed candidates and running on a platform that they would fix a considerable fiscal deficit by raising taxes and cutting costs.


Contact Jan Hefler at 856-779-3224 or jhefler@phillynews.com, or follow on Twitter @JanHefler. Read her blog, "Burlco Buzz," at www.philly.com/BurlcoBuzz.

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