Republicans waging a longshot challengein Legislative District 22 seized on Assemblywoman Linda Stender's 7th Congressional District campaign finances, which includecontributions made by three men stung in last week's federal corruptionprobe.
Martin Marks and Bo Vastine want Stender to return campaign contributions she received last year from Hoboken Mayor Peter Cammarano, former Assemblyman Lou Manzo and his brother Ronald Manzo, a suggestion the Stender camp calls ridiculous since the account is already closed.
“I spent 9 years as the Mayor of Scotch Plains and the thought of any elected official accepting a bribe makes me sick," said Marks."Linda Stender should immediately return the almost $4,000 in campaign contributions she received from Mayor Peter Cammarano and the Manzo brothers. These men are alleged to have accepted cash bribes in an attempt to peddle their political influence, and that should have no place here in the 22nd District."
“The people of New Jersey deserve better and the people of the 22nd should know that their Assemblywoman would not want campaign funds from men of this nature,” added Vastine. “While we can all say we are happy that the corrupt Hudson County Democrat political machine took a major hit last week, we should also know that they are not funding campaigns here in the 22nd District. Linda Stender should take the $3,930 in dirty money she received from these men and give it to charity. The fact that she hasn’t already done so speaks volumes about what Linda Stender is willing to do to continue being elected.”
Stenderspokesman Ed Oatman brushed aside Marks' and Vastine's request, noting the difference between Stender's assembly and congressional campaign accounts.
"As former Mayor Marks knows, those contributions were made to Linda Stender for Congress," said Oatman."As he also knows, Stender for Congressno longer exists. TheFEC views it as offciiallyclosed. If Mayor Marks is urging us to use the assembly account, that is a violation of state and federal law. I would hope he's not urging us to break those laws."
Beaten by U.S. Rep. Leonard Lance (R-Clinton) last year after running a closer racetwo years earlier in the Republican leaning district, Stender is pursuing her fifth term as an assemblywoman.