Republican Jon Runyan went after Rep. John Adler (D-N.J.) Friday over a report in a local paper that accused Adler's campaign of manufacturing a Tea Party candidate in the district to aid his own reelection bid.
A story in Friday's Courier Post accused Adler's campaign of calling on Democratic volunteers to gather signatures last spring in an attempt to get Peter DeStefano on the ballot this fall in the hopes that he would siphon votes away from Runyan.
Seeing an opening in what has emerged as a close contest, Runyan tore into Adler on Friday in a statement calling the Democrat "dishonest."
"Ever since our campaign established links between Congressman John Adler and the fraudulent candidacy of Peter DeStefano, I knew there was a possibility that something much more sinister was going on," Runyan said in the statement.
"My opponent John Adler represents everything that is wrong with politics in this country today," Runyan continued. "He is dishonest. He lacks principle. And he's clearly willing to say or do anything to win reelection and cling to power."
Runyan went on to accuse Adler and his campaign team of trying to intentionally "defraud and disenfranchise voters" by planting DeStefano.
A recent Monmouth University/Gannett poll showed Adler with just a three-point lead over Runyan in a district that was formerly held by longtime Rep. Jim Saxton (R-N.J.).
No response yet from Adler's campaign.