Republican State Assembly candidate Lee Lucas told neighbors "if you want to act like niggers, go back to Paulsboro," according to a 2006 Greenwich Township police report detailing a neighbor dispute.
"Yeah, I said that," a police officer says Lucas told him. "It's my freedom of speech. I can say what I want while I'm on my property."
Newly-elected Gloucester County GOP Chairman Bill Fey and Assembly Majority Leader Alex DeCroce (R-Parsippany) have called on Lucas to drop out of the race amidst other allegations of racially insensitive remarks. Don't expect Lucas to leave the race anytime soon.
Sources say that Lucas was not invited to attend an event in Gloucester County on Monday that will feature GOP gubernatorial candidate Christopher Christie and Republican National Chairman Michael Steele. Steele, who is African American, will likely be asked if he supports Lucas, the winner of the June 2 Republican primary.
Police were called when Lucas was shouting at three neighbors he accused of cutting down a tree at his Gibbstown home.
"He came at me like a crazy man, stating something to the following ‘get the hell off my fence. I'm trying to provoke you. Get over here and hit me," neighbor Kyle Still told police. Still and another neighbor, Mark Salvatore, said they cut down branches from a tree at their homes that had been damaged in a storm. One of the branches may have feel on Lucas' property.
According to the report, Lucas "was reminded to act in a mannerly fashion. Mr. Lucas said they called him "googly eyes" and threatened to beat him up. Kyle admitted that they called him" googly eyes" but did not threaten him in any way, and that Mr. Lucas was the aggressor."
Lucas beat former Cumberland County Surrogate Arthur Marchand by 68 votes in GOP primary. He is running with Dr. Robert Villare in the politically competitive third district against incumbents John Burzichelli (D-Paulsboro) and Celeste Riley (D-Bridgeton).
Some of the blame goes to an establishment Republican, longtime GOP State Committeeman Ernest Tark of Salem County. Tark, who said he had no instructions from state Republicans, was the one who stopped Salem County Republicans from giving Marchand the organization line. Instead, only Villare had organizational support in Salem. Villare won 1,881 votes in Salem, followed by 1,525 for Lucas, 661 for Marchand, and 543 from Greenwich Township Mayor George Shivery. Marchand and Shivery had run as a team.
Republicans had touted District 3 as a place they could win Assembly seats this year. Now DeCroce is saying he won't put any financial resources into the race.