The District 39 Republicans’ first television advertisement has raised the ire of their Democratic opponents.
The ad, which is currently airing, insinuates that Democratic state Senate candidate Joe Ariyan received three appointed public jobs after donating thousands of dollars to Democratic candidates. Ariyan is Bergen County’s Public Advocate for Land Use, a public defender in Hillside and commissioner of the Northwest Bergen County Utilities Authority.
“Joe Ariyan gave tens of thousands of dollars in political contributions then got 3 taxpayer paid jobs,” said the ad. “Pay to play contributions?”
The ad also accused Democratic Assembly candidate Carl Manna of raising property taxes as a Dumont Councilman, and running mate Esther Fletcher of raising spending by 32 percent in River Edge.
The Democrats, who have not yet put out any television ads, responded that the Republicans – state Senator Gerald Cardinale and Assembly incumbents Charlotte Vandervalk and John Rooney – went negative because they did not want to focus on issues important to the district.
"With little to show for their collective 65 years in Trenton, Cardinale, Rooney, and Vandervalk have resorted to partisan mud-slinging and misrepresentation of the facts,” said a statement by Ariyan.
The Democrats’ campaign manager, Jennifer Chirco, called any implication that Ariyan was given his positions in exchange for campaign cash “ludicrous,” and pointed out that Rooney had held three public jobs in the 1980s.
“Joe is dedicated to serving Bergen County, and he’s taken on as many roles as offered to him to ensure that whether it be overdevelopment or advocating as public defender that the needs of the people of Bergen County are met.”
Rooney said that he didn’t feel the need to tout his own accomplishments because, as a long-term incumbent, the district’s voters are already familiar with his record.
“I think it just tells the truth, especially with Ariyan. The guy’s got three taxpayer paid jobs, and they’re appointed, not elected positions,” said Rooney.