New Jersey Tea Party candidate was a Democratic plant, report says

CAMDEN COUNTY — Democratic leaders in southern New Jersey recruited a fake Tea Party candidate to try to draw votes away from a Republican challenger in the 3rd District congressional race, according to a report in the Courier-Post of Cherry Hill.

Several Democratic operatives who spoke to the newspaper on the condition of anonymity detailed how the campaign of first-term Democratic U.S. Rep. John Adler ran the petition drive and are running a campaign for picture framer Peter DeStefano.

Polls show that Adler is in a tight race against Republican challenger Jon Runyan. DeStefano, Adler and top officials in Adler’s campaign did not immediately return calls or e-mails from the AP this morning.

Previously, they have denied Republicans’ accusations that DeStefano was a plant.