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Possible Ethics Issue Clouds Forecast for Democrats in 1st Legislative District

“Easily we’ll set a new record,” Donahue said last week.

Some of the campaign money in this district is being directed toward attack ads against both Senate candidates. The ads funded by Adelizzi-Schmidt’s campaign, the Republican party and by outside Democratic groups like the Fund for Jobs, Growth and Security come despite a request by Van Drew to his opponent to run a clean campaign and to forgo campaign signs. In a letter Adelizzi-Schmidt sent to Van Drew in June, she agreed that negative ads have no place in a political race and asked him to set limits for the amount of money spent on his campaign. Van Drew responded to the letter but skirted the question.

“Attack ads do work to some degree . . . We’ll see in the second poll [to be conducted by Stockton in a few weeks] if the ads have penetrated,” said Douglas. “Sometimes there’s some public resentment that stems from too much outside money but frankly people aren’t paying that much attention yet.”

Republican Senate Minority Leader Tom Kean Jr. and Republican senator Diane Allen (R-Burlington) and Assemblywoman Caroline Casagrande (R-Monmouth) have injected their names, if not necessarily their money, into this race. Kean reportedly helped personally recruit Adelizzi-Schmidt, and Allen and Casagrande have publicly appeared with 1st District Republican candidates and are targeting their support toward females running in districts they consider up for grabs.

Adelizzi-Schmidt -- an Upper Township wife, mother of two, corporate trainer, and owner of a public relations firm who holds memberships in several civic organizations -- is the first woman in a major party to run for state Senate from the 1st Legislative District. Allen has been quoted trumpeting Adelizzi-Schmidt’s support for female-friendly initiatives like rape-shield laws, concessions for working mothers, and reconstructive breast surgery that’s free of sales tax.

“We don’t have enough women to push these things through,” Allen said.

But Adelizzi-Schmidt may have muddled her pro-woman credentials when she confused the definition of “suffrage” in a quote published by a newspaper in her district. According to Shore News Today, Adelizzi-Schmidt said her decision to run breaks “through a glass ceiling . . . Suffrage for women ended 80 years ago . . . It’s time for suffrage to end for women in the 1st Legislative District."

“Suffrage” means the right to vote.

Allen is also supporting Gabor and Fiocchi, both of whom also said if elected they’ll vote for Allen’s Family First Employer Act, which would encourage employers to provide daycare, sick leave, flexible scheduling, and workplace advancement programs for women.

Gabor is a Cape May County freeholder who works as a client advisor for an insurance brokerage firm. She’s married to a retired state trooper and has two sons. Fiocchi is a Cumberland County freeholder awarded the NAACP Political Courage Award in 2011. He retired from an entrepreneurial career in real estate, investments, and agricultural services and currently holds board and executive positions in various professional and community organizations.

With Adelizzi-Schmidt, they champion an eight-point plan to boost South Jersey’s business and technology position within the state by fostering a high-tech corridor; creating an advisory board to write a regional business recruitment and retention master plan; improving communication and connectivity with the state and collaboration between colleges and universities.

Republicans are hoping Gabor and Fiocchi can ride Gov. Chris Christie’s coattails to a victory over the Democratic incumbents, especially considering Republicans, including Fiocchi, narrowly lost to Albano and his 2011 running mate, Matt Milam, in the last election. Plus, 27-year-old Andrzecjzak has never been tested in an election, having been appointed to his position after Milam abruptly resigned seven months ago.

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