In the ever-nasty Atlantic County Executive Race, both candidates think their opponent needs to issue an apology.
In a press release today, Democratic Sheriff and County Executive candidate Jim McGettigan joined Atlantic County Democratic Chairman Ron Ruff in calling on Republican incumbent Dennis Levinson to apologize for “injecting racism” into the County Executive campaign.
At issue is a candidates’ forum held in Brigantine last weekend, where an audience member asked McGettigan a question in which he used the term “wetbacks,” a racial slur for Mexicans. McGettigan responded that he understood that the word used to mean all immigrants, but did not know what it meant today.
Levinson issued a press release on Monday headlined “Levinson should apologize for racial insult,” in which he expressed expressing “disappointment” in McGettigan’s use of the term.
But Democrats today said that Levinson, by making the remarks a campaign issue, was the one inflaming racial tensions.
“I come from a family of immigrants and understand the pain that insensitive remarks can cause. I think that Mr. Levinson may be trying to put out these false accusations to distract attention from his poor record as County Executive,” said McGettigan.
Despite his press release from Monday, Levinson said it was the Hispanic Alliance, not him, who originally called on McGettigan to apologize.
“Does anyone on God’s green earth believe that someone with 25 years in law enforcement does not know that he term ‘wetback’ is unacceptable?” asked Levinson. “He should have apologized when he was asked to.”