United States Senate candidate Joe Pennacchio hit rival Republican Murray Sabrin for “religious bigotry” today.
At issue is a press release Sabrin put out yesterday, the Catholic holy day of Ascension Sunday. In the release, Sabrin bolstered his pro-life credentials by reflecting “on the millions of unborn children whose lives are destroyed each year through abortions.”
Sabrin went on to criticize his two Republican rivals: Dick Zimmer for being pro-choice, and Joe Pennacchio for having written in favor of distributing the abortion drug RU-486 in his 1991 work A Nationalist Agenda — which Sabrin referred to as a “fascist manifesto.”
“I, as a Catholic, take offense to Murray Sabrin using my religion to make a political point. He used the Ascension to make a point which was shameful and subtly bigoted. It shows his total lack of respect and tolerance for my Catholic faith,” Pennacchio said. “Even for Murray this crosses the line.”
Pennacchio also said that Sabrin’s repeated use of the word “fascist” to describe him was a subtle dig at his Italian heritage.
Pennacchio said that he pledged to run a clean campaign, but also attacked Zimmer for his own past campaign tactics, including his congressional race in 2000.
“His bigotry is no better than the bigotry of the ‘angry black man’ phone calls used in a past Zimmer campaign and outlined in the book ‘How to Rig an Election’,” said Pennacchio. “It’s certainly no better than when Zimmer attempted to tie conservative Republican Mike Pappas to the KKK through his membership in an Evangelical Church.”
The Zimmer campaign could not immediately be reached for comment.
“New Jersey’s unborn children need a leader, not an author,” said Sabrin spokesman George Ajjan.