Webber and Barranco Stampede LD-26 into Never Never Land

Nobody ever confused Republican Assemblywoman BettyLou DeCroce with Angela Davis, the 1960’s-era radical who gained notoriety for a massive Afro and revolutionary rhetoric.

Until now.

In a sure sign the GOP Assembly battle in LD-26 is careening into never-never land, DeCroce is being portrayed as a certified left-winger who “honors Black Lives Matter radicals.”

This is the work of Assemblyman Jay Webber and Christian Barranco who are running as a team and who have been endorsed by Morris County Republicans. The GOP county committee didn’t endorse fellow incumbent DeCroce.

A Webber-Barranco campaign piece this week says primary voters should “reject Black Lives Matter” by rejecting DeCroce.

At issue is an Assembly vote last year designating July 13 as “Black Lives Matter Day” in New Jersey. The measure passed last June without any negative votes and was referred to the Senate where action has yet to be taken. Obviously, the Assembly action came about amid protests throughout the state and nation after the death of George Floyd.

The bill references Floyd’s death and calls on New Jerseyans on that day to come together in solidarity to commemorate the movement and its goal of “combatting systematic racism and violence against black people.”

This bill seems like one of those many symbolic gestures public bodies are wont to make.

But in the midst of a political campaign, it becomes something different.

The Webber-Barranco piece calls Black Lives Matter a “radical Marxist group” that wants to “defund the police” and end the nuclear family. It also refers to the group’s support for banning Donald Trump from holding any future public office and for investigating ties among white supremacy, law enforcement and the military.

Just who is the target audience here? Or put another way, by any logical calculus, should not believers in white supremacy be removed from your local police department? How is that aim “radical?”

Of course, the Assembly bill says nothing about some of the identifiable goals of BLM; it talks merely about solidarity among people.

Still, it is reasonable to consider the entire scope of an organization if the state is going to designate a day in their honor.

Barranco made that point in a phone chat  this morning, adding that the more radical aims of the Black Lives Matter movement probably are not ones most New Jerseyans would support. He also noted – correctly – that he’s been attacked as a phony conservative and as a guy who likes raising taxes. In other words, he didn’t start the negative ad barrage. Webber, for his part, didn’t respond to a phone call.

At the same time, some may see the attack against DeCroce as a bit over the top. How many of the district’s GOP primary voters truly think DeCroce wants to defund police and end family life as we have known it?  This one may end up doing the Webber-

Barranco duo more harm than good.

Before we move on, it’s instructive to note that when the vote on Black Lives Matter day was taken, there were 53 “yes”  votes and no “no” votes.

Odd. You may have thought Webber would have voted no.

He abstained.

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