Democratic congressional candidate Brigid Callahan Harrison and three others have requested a federal monitor for the July 7 primary election in Atlantic County, citing concerns about potential voter fraud.

“We are incredibly concerned about the fairness of and transparency of the election that will take place on July 7,” Harrison said Thursday. “This has been an issue in Atlantic County for quite some time. ... We want to make sure the votes cast are cast by the voters entitled to their votes.”

Harrison, Pleasantville Councilman Lawrence “Tony” Davenport, Pleasantville school board member Jerome Page and Democratic surrogate candidate Levi Fox together sent a letter Thursday to U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito in Newark, asking his office to monitor the election because of a history of voter fraud allegations in Pleasantville and Atlantic City.

“The voter fraud allegations have largely centered on Craig Callaway, a former Atlantic City Council president who served more than three years in federal and state prisons after pleading guilty of taking $10,000 in cash bribes from an undercover FBI agent and for overseeing a blackmail plot to force the resignation of a political rival from the Atlantic City Council,” the letter said.

“No comment,” Callaway said Thursday when contacted by phone.

Callaway has backed Harrison’s strongest opponent, Amy Kennedy, of Brigantine, who also got the endorsement of the Atlantic City Democratic Committee, which has strong ties to Callaway.

“We are all in favor of election monitoring across the board in NJ 2 to make sure that all people’s rights to vote are protected in the middle of this pandemic,” said Josh Roesch, campaign manager for Kennedy. “What we won’t stand for is Brigid preemptively trying to call into question results of an election she knows she’s going to lose by using the same dog-whistle, racist tactics employed by Donald Trump to suppress the vote in minority communities and to scare and intimidate African-American voters.”

The two are in a six-person race for the right to run against U.S. Rep. Jeff Van Drew, R-2nd, in November.

Kennedy also won the endorsement of Atlantic County Democrats at the group’s convention in March.

Harrison, on the other hand, has been endorsed by six of the eight other county chairmen in the 2nd Congressional District and has the support of state Senate President Steve Sweeney, Assemblymen Vince Mazzeo and John Armato, D-Atlantic, and U.S. Sens. Cory Booker and Robert Menendez.

Callaway is tied to a lawsuit alleging voter fraud in the Pleasantville Board of Education election last year. In that case, pending in Atlantic County Superior Court, candidate Doris Rowell alleges Callaway, his family members and others associated with him improperly handled vote-by-mail ballots.

In her complaint, she accuses Callaway of holding on to hundreds of the ballots, changing some of the votes and parceling them out to bearers unknown to the voters three at a time to deliver them to the Board of Elections at the last minute.

Rowell won at the polls on election night but was defeated after mail-in ballots nearly quadrupled the vote tally of two of her opponents. Those opponents were backed by a Super PAC called “Our South Jersey,” which has ties to the Callaway family.

Staff Writer Claire Lowe contributed to this report.

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Staff Writer

In my first job after college got paid to read the New York Times and summarize articles for an early online data base. First reporting job was with The Daily Record in Parsippany. I have also worked in nonprofits, and have been with The Press since 1990.

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