N.J. GOP wants criminal probe into Tea Party candidate on ballot

Embattled Rep. John Adler (D-N.J.) can't escape the flap over a candidate running under the Tea Party banner in New Jersey's 3rd congressional district that his campaign has been accused of propping up.  

The state GOP now wants a criminal probe into how third-party candidate Peter DeStefano got his name on November's ballot.  

A report from the Courier Post earlier this month detailed the efforts of two Adler campaign consultants to help DeStefano secure the ballot line in the hopes that he would siphon votes away from Republican challenger Jon Runyan. 

According to a report in the Courier Post Tuesday, Party Chairman Jay Webber has sent a letter to U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman and New Jersey Attorney General Paula Dow asking for a look into "whether any crimes were committed in connection with the efforts" to get DeStefano on the ballot. 

Adler has repeatedly denied any knowledge of an effort to recruit a spoiler candidate to aid his reelection, and the Adler campaign labeled the state GOP's legal complaint "bogus" Monday night. 

The race between the first-term Democrat and the former pro-football star has turned into one of the tightest contests in the country ahead of Election Day. 

A new poll from Stockton College released over the weekend showed Runyan pulling even with Adler while DeStefano's support dropped. Runyan led Adler 40 percent to 37 percent with DeStefano polling at 5 percent.