HomeShamong NewsState Sen. Dawn Addiego switches from Republican to Democrat

State Sen. Dawn Addiego switches from Republican to Democrat

Addiego argued the national Republican Party has “lost its way,” citing off-coast oil drilling and a federal tax policy that penalizes local families.

By Zane Clark

The Sun

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It’s the “dawn” of a new day for state Sen. Dawn Addiego (NJ-8), who has decided to go from serving as a Republican to a serving as Democrat.

The news came in the form of a surprise announcement Monday afternoon from the longtime Evesham resident and Eighth Legislative District senator.

Addiego’s switch now brings the Democrats’ control of the state Senate to 26 seats, versus Republicans’ 14 seats — the lowest number for New Jersey’s GOP in decades.

Addiego previously served on Evesham Township Council from 1993 through 2000, then served on the Burlington County Board of Freeholders through 2008.

Addiego then represented the Eighth Legislative District in the state Assembly from 2008 through 2010, before moving to the district’s state Senate seat she currently holds.

In announcing her switch, Addiego argued the national Republican Party has “lost its way,” citing oil drilling off the state’s coast and a federal tax policy that “unfairly penalizes” New Jersey’s families.

“My core values that originally drew me to the Republican Party have not changed, but the party which once echoed the vision of Ronald Reagan no longer exists,” Addiego said in a statement.

Addiego also cited her work in the last year with state Senate President Steve Sweeney (NJ-3) on the Economic and Fiscal Policy Work Group, where she praised Sweeney for a “tireless work ethic” and “unparalleled success” at delivering for the people of New Jersey, in particular his constituents in South Jersey.

With her switch, Addiego said it had become increasingly clear to her that to effect change, she would have to be “part of the discussion and not on the outside looking in.”

“The people of the 8th District did not elect me to be content in the role of loyal opposition,” Addiego said.

In turn, Sweeney lauded Addiego as a “strong voice” for women, police and programs that will serve the Eighth Legislative District.

“Sen. Addiego has been a champion for labor issues, women’s rights, the environment and sound economic policies,” Sweeney said. “As a member of the Economic and Fiscal Policy Workgroup, she recognizes the serious financial problems that confront us and she understands the need to make the reforms needed to maintain the state’s fiscal health and stability.”

However, Republican leaders and representatives were less enthused with the news of Addiego’s departure from the Republican Party.

State Senate Minority Leader and Republican Tom Kean Jr. (NJ-21) said he and fellow Republicans believed it was “misguided” for Addiego to tie her decision to the leave the Republican Party in New Jersey to the action of congressional Republicans in Washington, D.C.

“She knows N.J. Republican legislators, particularly her Senate Republican colleagues, are working hard every day to create opportunities for every New Jerseyan,” Kean said.

Sean Earlen, Burlington County Republican chairman, said it was “no secret” Republicans in New Jersey and in Burlington County were facing a rough political climate.

That “rough climate” Earlen referenced saw Democrat Andy Kim top former U.S. Rep. Tom MacArthur by more than 30,000 votes in Burlington County to win the state’s Third Congressional District in last year’s election.

In recent years, Democrats have also taken a total of four seats away from Republicans on the Burlington County Board of Chosen Freeholders in 2017 and 2018 respectively, as well as taken the Burlington County Clerk’s Office and Seventh Legislative District State Senate seat from Republicans’ hands.

As such, Earlen said Addiego’s switch had more to do with “self-preservation” than her political values.

“We are very disappointed that someone we looked up to as a leader decided to jump ship at the first sign of trouble,” Earlen said.

Last year’s election also saw local Democrats take control of Evesham Township Council, as well as take control of Moorestown Township Council and pickup seats on Mt. Laurel Township Council in Burlington County.


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