James O’Keefe, the New Jersey native and right wing provocateur, has elbowed his way into the governor’s race.
O’Keefe through his group, Project Veritas, promised a “bombshell” video would arrive Monday night related to the campaign. It arrived, but by any objective analysis, the bombshell was close to being a dud. But that’s not the whole story.
The video shows two so-called high level Murphy campaign advisors admitting that if the governor wins reelection, he will implement vaccine mandates.
This question has come up periodically in recent months and Gov. Murphy has more or less said there are no plans for such a thing, but that everything is on the table.
The advisors are identified as Wendy Martinez, who works in Hispanic outreach, and Matthew Urquijo, a digital manager for the Democrats’ statewide campaign.
One immediate question is why would a digital guy and a Hispanic advisor be privy to state health policy? If anything, the individuals may have been simply giving their personal opinions.
Some describe the interviewers here as “undercover journalists,” but that’s a little misleading as reputable journalists identify themselves when interviewing people. That apparently didn’t happen here.
The methods of Project Veritas have faced legal challenges over the years.
A judge ruled earlier this month that the group’s undercover activities against a Democratic consulting firm could be termed “political spying” as opposed to journalism. The ruling came as part of ongoing litigation against Project Veritas dating back to 2016.
Getting back to the Garden State, we’re not done yet with the videos.
The state Democratic Committee released a video of its own Monday night showing O’Keefe and others confronting Martinez in a Newark parking garage. The Dems said Martinez and another campaign staffer were lured to the garage by an apparent phony report that one of their vehicles had been struck.
The video released by the Democrats shows O’Keefe and others following Martinez and asking her questions about the Project Veritas video. Questions include why she has to “lie” to voters and how could she sleep at night.
Leaving partisan politics aside, ambushing people in a parking garage is thuggish behavior to be sure. These are not public officials, they’re campaign workers.
A statement from the Democrats called the episode “criminal harassment” and said Jack Ciattarelli should denounce it.
As of early afternoon, the Ciattarelli campaign has not responded to that video. But it said the earlier video about vaccine mandates, if verified, is the ultimate in hypocrisy and lack of transparency.
So, here’s a more telling question – what does all this mean?
The guess here is nothing – even for those who believe the Project Veritas video,
On that, three points need to be made.
Those outraged by the possibility of a possible vaccine mandate are probably not going to vote for Murphy anyway.
Those who support Murphy may actually like the idea of a vaccine mandate on the belief it will save lives.
As for this supposedly being kept under wraps until after the election? Let’s be real and eschew the pious indignation.
It’s not as if something like that never happened before in the history of American politics. By all sides.