Formerly Democrat Elected Officials Turn Republican for Trump in New Jersey

Mel Evans/AP

Two Camden County, New Jersey elected officials jumped ship from the Democratic Party to register Republican in the heavily Democrat region and vote for presumptive Republican Party presidential nominee Donald Trump.

Audubon Park Mayor Larry Pennock said he jumped the Democrat ship over two months ago to join Republicans and vote for Trump in New Jersey’s June 7 primary election, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer — describing his shift as “ideological.” Pennock told the outlet that he is in “lockstep” when it comes to Republican Party policies, highlighting his positions on the  economy, national security, and immigration.

The change is one that Pennock said has mulled over for years, but he was persuaded by Trump’s run, he told the Inquirer. The formerly 40-year Democrat said he wasn’t concerned about a potential 2018 re-election bid when asked and hopes that “people will respect me for being honest both with myself and with them.”

Audubon Park formerly Democrat Councilman John Carpinelli also re-registered as a Republican. The now lone Republican on the council pointed out to the Inquirer the high level of “dissatisfaction” among Democrats in Camden County.

Pennock and Carpinelli made the announcement of their new Republican Party registrations on Thursday.

Of Audubon Park’s 457 registered Democrats, just over 42 percent came out and were essentially divided between Democrats former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders for president in the primary election, voting 91-90. Of the 64 registered Republicans, just over 76 percent voted and overwhelmingly voted for Trump.

Camden County hosts over 155,000 voters with no political party affiliation as of May 31,2016 according to the New Jersey Department of State. Another approximately 135,000 are Democrats and over 43,000 are Republicans with a small number affiliated with minority parties. Unaffiliated, Democrat, and Republican registration increased 1.8 percent, 2.3 percent, and 3.9 percent respectively from January to June.

New Jersey congressional candidate Bob Patterson told Breitbart News, “For many, many years powerbrokers and political insiders have dominated Camden County, but the voters I’ve talked to are fed up with it. The insiders are going to find themselves on the outside in 2016.

“The mayor and councilman should be congratulated for having the courage of their convictions. I know the people of Audubon Park can count on them for representation far better than the political class has given them in Washington, DC.”

Patterson has built a Trump-esque model in his bid for New Jersey’s first district congressional seat, in January calling for the U.S. to “halt ominous trade deals and open-border policies that send American jobs overseas and flood the U.S. labor market at both ends with foreign workers,” as stated in the announcement of his candidacy. The 1st district includes the 1,000-plus person Audubon Park where Pennock is mayor.

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