A Democratic candidate for Assembly in the 25th District is in turmoil because he doesn’t want to attend a Morris County Democratic Committee event hosted by featured guest Speaker Sheila Oliver (D-34).
George Stafford of Wharton, former state Division of Motor Vehicles manager who’s run twice unsucccessfully in the heavily Republican district, said he doesn’t know whether or not he will eventually boycott the Aug. 27 event, but he’s uncomfortable with Oliver.
“Along with fellow co-conspirator Steve Sweeney, President of the New Jersey Senate, Shelia scrounged enough votes together to help the Republican minority pass a pension ‘reform’ measure that saddles workers with the sins of the Legislature,” griped Stafford in an email blast to fellow Democrats. “Even the cabal members who fostered this unethical and hypocritical bill admit that the budget crisis was caused by the poor practices, bad judgment and worse of the Governor’s office and the State Legislature over the years yet they gleefully refuse to accept responsibility.”
Running against Assemblyman Tony Bucco, (R-25), Boonton, and Assemblyman Michael Patrick Carroll, (R-25), Morris Plains, the Democrat nonetheless has serious problems with the leadership of his own party, and said if he were elected he would support neither Sweeney nor Oliver. The candidate said he opposes Oliver’s acquiesence in legislation that undermined collective bargaining and called associating himself with an event honoring her “foolish politically” and offensive to his deeper loyalties as a Democrat.
“Now as an underdog State Assembly candidate these are the very folks I need to work and vote for me in the coming election,” he said in his email. “How can I ask for their support if I am seen to embrace the frankly cold, calculating, amoral practices of the likes of Ms. Oliver? On the other hand how do I avoid contamination if I attend the fund raiser? If I do not attend how best to explain my absence to my fellow Democrats? If I attend do I confront Ms. Oliver with her treachery? After all, I’m an old school Irish gentleman, chastising distinguished ladies in public is simply not in my nature.” Stafford said if Sweeney were present he would get the Senate president in a corner and challenge him.
“I’m sure that neither his Irish temper nor mine who would get in the way of a free exchange of ideas regarding his betrayal,” said the candidate.
In the note he shared with Morris County Democratic Chairman Lew Candura, Stafford hinted at dropping the speaker from a program that also includes U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell and U.S. Rep. Rush Holt.
“I suppose if Ms. Oliver worked up a tactical asthma attack in the style of her political ally Christie on that day, I might be spared this conundrum,” Stafford said. “Failing that dear friend advise me for I intend to practice morality in politics, no matter the current vogue.”