Tea Party candidate may be spoiler in N.J.’s 3rd District

    Peter DeStefano’s third-party bid may aid incumbent Democrat John Adler in race against Republican challenger Jon Runyan.

    By Aaron Moselle

    A third-party candidate vying for New Jersey’s 3rd Congressional District seat could play a pivotal role in the tight race between Democrat John Adler and Republican challenger Jon Runyan.

    Polls show that Adler has a slim lead over Jon Runyan. And the presence of Tea Party candidate Peter DeStefano in the South Jersey race may aid Adler in November, says Ross Baker, a professor of political science at Rutgers University.

    Even with DeStefano’s single-digit poll returns, Baker says, Runyan is still essentially running against two candidates.

    “I think that I would certainly much prefer to be the only challenger to John Adler, than to be one of two challengers to John Adler, especially if the second minor party candidate is diverting a measurable number of votes,” says Baker.

    DeStefano, a first-time candidate, doesn’t think he’ll split votes with Runyan because he says he is the only true conservative in the race.

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