It is hard to get to know J. Christian. The DE GOP keeps throwing mud on her. From today’s NJ.

Pssst Smyrna! Get your absentee ballots!

The term “absentee ballot” brings back memories in Smyrna, and not very pleasant ones. Back in 2005, then-Mayor Mark Schaeffer went door-to-door, soliciting absentee ballots on behalf of voters — which is permitted by town ordinances — and also handing actual ballots to voters. That is not permitted.

When Schaeffer’s re-election campaign came to a close and the ballots cast in the voting machines were counted, challenger Gene Mullen had a 39-vote lead. But when the absentee ballots were opened, Schaeffer won by two highly disputed votes. That caused such an uproar that the General Assembly waded in, passing a landmark reform of Delaware municipal election laws.

Although Smyrna elections are nonpartisan, Schaeffer is a Republican who once ran against then-Sen. James T. Vaughn, D-Clayton. Were it not for his embarrassing electoral antics, Schaeffer might have wound up as the GOP’s candidate in the race to replace Vaughn, who died Oct. 10. But Joanne Christian is the Republican candidate for Vaughn’s seat, running against longtime Rep. Bruce C. Ennis, D-Smyrna. Given the Schaeffer debacle, you’d think the GOP would have learned to steer clear of soliciting absentee ballots, at least in the Smyrna area. Apparently not.

Republican voters in the area recently received a campaign come-on in their mailboxes from the Christian camp. Emblazoned on the front of the envelope, in red letters, were the words, “ABSENTEE BALLOT ENCLOSED.” Those who opened them found not an actual ballot inside, but an affidavit to request an absentee ballot. Either way, the episode caused considerable mirth among local Democrats once they got wind of the mailing. “Can you say one-page playbook?” one cracked.

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