Jon Runyan, the former Philadelphia Eagles lineman who's running for Congress in Pennsylvania as one of the D.C. Republicans' top recruits, has found himself running against what appears to be a fake Tea Partier.
If 2010 is indeed a wave election year, Runyan stands a decent chance of taking down freshman Democrat John Adler in New Jersey's conservative-leaning 3rd Congressional District, which sent Republican Jim Saxton to Congress for 13 consecutive terms before Adler's win in 2008. One problem, however, has loomed: a third-party bid by Peter DeStefano, running on the "New Jersey Tea Party" ticket, who threatens to siphon a small percentage of the vote away from Runyan and possibly keep the seat in Democratic hands.
Last week, however, the Courier-Post's Jane Roh reported that DeStefano is a fake, planted by Democrats who conspired at a meeting in May to gather signatures to get him on the ballot.
And not just any Democrats were responsible, Roh reported: Geoff Mackler, Adler's campaign manager who had been dispatched by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, played a key role along with a local Democratic consultant, according to the Courier-Post story. Mackler has declined interview requests from that paper. DeStefano has indirectly denied that he was a plant.