Assembly candidate Larry Casha didn't get his facts straight on a recent direct mail piece to 26th district voters — he accused rival Jay Webber of calling State Senator Robert Martin "Mr. Potato Head" during the 2003 Republican primary. Webber didn't say that, PoliticsNJ.com did. The reference to the classic Hasbro toy that changes faces to fit the situation was made after Martin moved decidedly to the right in order to win a hotly contested primary with Webber, a bonafide conservative. Casha knows Webber didn't say this — he complained about the Mr. Potato Head moniker while serving as Martin's campaign coordinator — but that didn't seem to stop him from making an unfair accusation this week.
Casha's attack on his '07 primary rival came in a mailer that criticized Webber for failing to sign a clean campaign pledge. It's no surprise that Webber would not take Casha's pledge seriously: four years ago, Casha was one of Martin's attack surrogates. In a January 23, 2003 e-mail, Casha wrote: "Unfortunately Senator Bob Martin is being challenged by Jay Webber a lawyer whose law firm, Drinker Biddle has a PAC and gave money to Democrats Bob Torricelli, Rob Andrews, Charles Rangel and Rush Holt just to name a few. A quick check of the Federal Election Commission website finds Webber's law firm's PAC giving a $1000 to the likes of Democrats Torricelli, Rangel, David Obey and Tim Johnson. Tim Johnson is the Senator from South Dakota who was the #1 target of President Bush to win back the US Senate. Johnson serves with Tom Daschle and defeated GOP Congressman John Thune by just 500 votes. The FEC reports no contributions from Mr. Webber to Congressman Rod Frelinghuysen or to Doug Forrester. He is not the type of Republican we want as Senator from the 26th District."
Martin used this attack in his own campaign mail, suggesting that Webber, an associate at a law firm with hundreds of lawyers, should be responsible for campaign contributions made by his employer — even though Martin had used his own campaign fund to contribute $500 to Democratic Assemblyman Wilfredo Caraballo.