Dem. Dark-Money Group Pushes ‘Phantom Candidates’ to Split GOP Vote in N.J.


(Jacob Bruns, Headline USA) With elections in New Jersey coming next week, Republican candidates have filed a lawsuit to stop “dark money”-backed “phantom candidates” from splitting up the Republican vote in the state, the Washington Examiner reported on Wednesday.

Republicans in the Garden State argued that an unknown group called “Jersey Freedom” is attempting to run fake Republican candidates against real Republicans to secure Democrat victories.

Jason Sena, an attorney for the Republican State Committee, slammed the strategy in a Tuesday press conference.

“What’s happening in South Jersey with regard to this entity that calls itself Jersey Freedom is a complete embarrassment to the state and is illegal,” he said.

“We want a full investigation by all law enforcement and regulatory agencies having jurisdiction over this entity.”

Specifically, Jersey Freedom has targeted voters in the 4th Congressional District—which covers Monroe, Pitman and Washington Township—with mailers and TV ads urging Republicans to vote for a heretofore unknown candidate, Giuseppe Costanzo, for state Senate against Republican-backed candidate, Christopher Del Borrello.

Constanzo has reportedly not engaged in any active campaigning, and did not respond to media queries.

The group also backed Assembly candidate Maureen Dukes-Penrose, who claims to have been told to run by outgoing Democratic state Sen. Fred Madden.

Madden, however, told the press that he had “never heard of this woman” and has “no idea what she’s talking about.”

Libertarian Senate candidate Shawn Peck, a former Libertarian Party Senate candidate in the state’s 2nd District, was also backed by Jersey Freedom before he dropped out, realizing that the group only backed him “to tighten margins in the race.”

Republicans in office made note of the potential election fraud.

Republican state Senate Minority Leader Anthony Bucco told the New Jersey Globe that Republicans believe that Jersey Freedom has ties to Democrat groups in the state.

“When you place them all together, they’re very disturbing, and in fact, we believe are illegal,”  he noted.

“The petitions were circulated by folks who had ties to South Jersey Democrats. One of the candidates has admitted to being encouraged to run. There’s use by similar vendors with other attacks, and it just stinks.”

In the face of such suggestions, Atlantic County Democrats denied any connection to Jersey Freedom.