Kean Duels with DCCC over Alleged Bonaccorso Tape

Tom Kean
Like many Union County politicos, Thomas H. Kean Jr. expressed outrage at revelations that the GOP mayor of Clark, a past supporter of his, was caught on tape allegedly making racial and sexist slurs against blacks and women police officers.

Mayor Sal Bonaccorso was allegedly caught on tape calling Black New Jerseyans racial slurs, joking about lynching them, and opposing the hiring of women police officers, resulting in a $400,000 payout to a whistleblower by Clark Township:

In two recordings, Bonaccorso allegedly referred to Blacks as “spooks,” and in another, he allegedly used the N-word. Bonaccorso was also allegedly captured saying he would not hire female police officers, calling them “all [expletive] disasters.”{…} In July 2019, Bonaccorso was leaving the Clark Recreation Center after dealing with a power outage when a police officer noticed ropes hanging from the ceiling, according to the draft suit.“We [expletive] hang the spooks up there,” Bonaccorso said, as laughter can be heard in the background. The discussion turned to the high school incident, which Bonaccorso called “such [expletive] bull—-.”

Here’s what Kean, the leading Republican candidate in CD-7, had to say.

“These are very disturbing allegations. As elected officials, we must hold ourselves to the highest standards. We cannot tolerate racism in public service and I know the mayor understands that.”

Nothing happens in a vacuum and as stated, Kean likely will face Democrat Tom Malinowski this fall. Kean lost to Malinowski by about 5,000 votes two years ago, but the district has become a bit more Republican after redistricting. Still, this is going to be a tough fight.

So it’s not surprising that the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) is not satisfied with Kean’s comment.

It said in a statement today that Kean is cowering to a fellow Republican.

“Tom Kean Jr’s response isn’t good enough,” the statement said. “He should reject (Mayor Sal) Bonaccorso’s endorsement and call on him to resign.”

The Kean campaign declined to respond directly to the DCCC statement.

In fairness, Gov. Phil Murphy also released a statement through his spokesperson condemning Bonaccorso. Here it is:

“Governor Murphy is deeply disturbed by these allegations, both regarding the hateful language and the subsequent misappropriations of municipal resources aimed at a misguided attempt to obscure the truth. There is no place in government or law enforcement for these unacceptable words and actions.”

The governor’s statement goes a bit further than Kean’s, but it does not specifically call on the mayor to resign.

Still, the part of Kean’s statement that says he knows the mayor “understands” that racism in public service is unacceptable seems a bit weak. After all, how does Kean know that?

In any event, we can await further developments in this story – like will the mayor resign and will this issue linger as the CD-7 campaign unfolds?

The guess here is that he will eventually resign, but that the campaign will soon move on to other matters.

But as we see time and time again, candidates often have to watch their supporters more carefully than their opponents.

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2 responses to “Kean Duels with DCCC over Alleged Bonaccorso Tape”

  1. This is just grasping at straws. Kean has no connection to these statements and it has no ramifications on the CD7 race. The DCCC is just trying to make a false and disingenuous connection for their own gain.

  2. How can this behavior and this intolerable language be tolerated. I would be thoroughly embarrassed if Bonaccorso was my husband, father, friend or relative. He needs to resign immediately.

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