No GOP candidates filed to run in special election for Andrews' seat
Four Republicans are vying in a primary to represent a section of South Jersey in Congress, but none submitted papers to run in a special election to fill the seat from November through January, another quirk of an unusual election that allows donors to contribute extra cash.
Two of the campaigns said they were unaware running in the special election required a separate set of petitions - in fact, one candidate said he didn't know about the special election at all until a reporter asked about it Friday.
"That's just blowing my mind," said Lee Lucas. "I don't get it."
The seat, representing most of Camden and Gloucester Counties, was represented from 1990 until this year by Democratic Rep. Robert E. Andrews. He took office after winning a special election - like this year's, held the same day as the general election - to fill the last two months of the an unexpired term. He resigned from Congress abruptly in February.
Andrews and most of the Democratic establishment in the Democratic-dominated district support State Sen. Donald Norcross, brother of power broker George E. Norcross III, an insurance executive and majority owner of the company that owns The Inquirer, Philadelphia Daily News, and Philly.com. But Andrews' support did not dissuade other candidates from entering the race. Two other Democrats - Frank Broomell and Frank Minor - and the four Republicans also filed to run.
All the Democrats submitted petitions to run in the special election. None of the Republicans did.
"One thing that's perplexing to us is 100 percent of the Democratic candidates were aware of it, and 100 percent of the Republicans were not," said Keith Walker, who is working for the campaign of Republican Garry Cobb, a radio host and former Eagles linebacker.
The campaign says Cobb will mount a write-in campaign in the June 3 primary and hopes to be on the Nov. 4 ballot for both elections.
Lucas said Friday he wasn't concerned: The special election is for the right to serve for only a couple of months.
Gerald McManus, another Republican in the race, did not immediately return a call Friday; the fourth, Claire Gustafson, could not be reached.
Besides the petition confusion, the special election means each donor can give twice as much to candidates as he or she would ordinarily be allowed to. For those running in all four elections, a contributor can give a candidate in the election a total of $10,400 this year.