Activists and advocates this morning besieged GOP guv candidate Kim Guadagno’s West Long Branch campaign office to condemn her Sanctuary State ad. Over forty activists demanded that Guadagno yank and disavow the ad titled “Sanctuary.” Organized by the progressive political group New Jersey Working Families, the action included representatives from multiple faith, issue, and advocacy communities.
“Shame on Kim Guadagno for stooping to race baiting and fear-mongering to boost her fading campaign for governor,” said Analilia Mejia, executive director of New Jersey Working Families Alliance. “Trotting out an old play out of the Trump/Christie playbook is disgusting enough, to do while campaigning to represent one of the most diverse states in the nation is beyond belief.”
New Jersey has the third largest population of immigrants of any state in the country. One in five voters in New Jersey is an immigrant or a child of immigrants.
“What citizens of New Jersey want and need to hear from candidates are their plans on how they will transform the lives of those they serve by way of sound policy and legislation,” said Richard Smith, president of NAACP New Jersey Chapter. “To purposely distort another candidate’s answer who in essence was standing up for immigrant communities and protecting their rights is problematic. Politicizing the deaths of three children is totally unacceptable!”
Guadagno’s campaign released the ad after retaining the services of Chris LaCivita, the same consultant behind the 2004 John Kerry “swift boat” ads.
“When Kim Guadagno approved this commercial of social hatred, she revealed everything we need to know about her moral compass,” said Steven Goldstein, founder of Garden State Equality. She has combined Chris Christie’s misdirection for New Jersey with a racist GPS from Steve Bannon and the roller-coaster steadiness of Donald Trump. With all those moving parts of misjudgment, Kim Guadagno has absolutely no ability to lead New Jersey on the road to recovery. Her moral compass couldn’t even find the road.”
Sara Cullinane, state director of Make the Road Action NJ, added, “Cities across New Jersey have taken a stand for public safety by refusing to use our taxpayer dollars and local law enforcement to support the Trump Administration’s program of mass deportations. These cities know that everyone is safer when local police focus on enforcing local laws, not federal immigration laws. As Sheriff of Monmouth County, Guadagno implemented the notorious ‘287(g)’ program, which uses county funds to do the work of federal immigration authorities, and has been known to provoke racial profiling and civil rights abuses in jurisdictions across the country. New Jersey must be a beacon for the rights of immigrants, as is its long tradition. We can’t fall prey to this hateful and xenophobic attack.”
“New Jersey citizens have shown concern over the latest campaign ad. “I work hard cleaning offices and have worked full-time for several years,” said Maximo Rodriquez, a 32BJ SEIU member who lives in Trenton. “What Kim Guadagno said about immigrants in her ‘sanctuary’ ad is wrong. We’re not criminals.” Rodriguez was born in the Dominican Republic and is a U.S. citizen.”
“If Kim Guadagno thinks that she is going to swiftboat New Jersey Dreamers, she’s got another things coming, said Hetty Rosenstein,” said New Jersey state director of Communications Workers of America and head of the organization, NJ Resistance. “New Jersey is a welcoming and diverse state and a majority of NJ voters know that immigrants make our country great and deserve a path to citizenship. In 85 days, Guadagno and Christie will both be gone, and let’s hope this kind of divisive and dishonest hatefulness goes with them.”
Activists objected to what they said are misleading claims contained in the ad.
“Guadagno’s newest attack ad takes a page from President Trump’s despicable race-baiting tactics that inflame racial fears. By implying, as her ad does, that a horrendous crime committed by one person of any group implicates the whole group represents the worst kind of intolerance and bigotry and should be denounced by all political parties,” said Marcia Marley of Blue Wave New Jersey.
“Her campaign ad shines a light on her ideological similarities to Donald Trump and anti-immigration hardliners like Attorney General Jeff Sessions,” said Winn Khuong, executive director of Action Together NJ. “New Jersey is the proud home of millions of immigrants from all across the world. We have a responsibility to protect our immigrant community, including those safeguarded by DACA, from the threat of deportation or other recourse. Our state was meant to be a safe haven and sanctuary for the masses since its founding. We will not let the lt. governor jeopardize that sacred responsibility.”
“Kim Guadagno has outdone herself ! With her latest commercial she has taken a page right out of Donald Trump’s playbook,” said Phyllis Salowe-Kaye, executive director of New Jersey Citizen Action. New Jersey voters will not tolerate a race baiter. Hate has no home here”
“At Planned Parenthood, we believe that that health has no borders, and that the ability to live and thrive without fear and to access health care are basic human rights,” said Christine Sadovy, advocacy director of Planned Parenthood in New Jersey. “We condemn this attempt to cause fear and division – and condemn Kim Guadagno for failing to stand up for the health and rights of all New Jerseyans.”
New Jersey Working Families put together the cross-section of organizations, including representatives from 32BJ SEIU, Action Together NJ, BlueWaveNJ, Food and Water Watch NJ, Garden State Equality, Latino Action Network, LUPE, Make the Road Action NJ, NAACP- NJ, New Jersey Citizen Action, New Jersey Resistance, Planned Parenthood NJ, Progressive Hunterdon Democrats, and Sierra Club NJ Chapter.