The 4th Essex County Freeholder District contest spilled into the 5th this weekend, as GOP candidate Steve Rogers demanded that Democrat Brendan Gill repudiate a suggestion of county corruption made by Gill’s running mate, 4th District Freeholder Len Luciano.
“Mr. Gill is running with a man who right now is failing to demonstrate the character needed to represent the people of Essex County,” said Rogers. “I want to know if Mr. Gill is still standing in Luciano’s corner.”
At a debate in Verona last week between Luciano and his Republican opponent, Cedar Grove Deputy Mayor Joe Chiusolo, Luciano accused his opponent of “being on the take” because of a business transaction Chiusolo had with the county.
“Mr. Gill needs to tell voters now if he believes Luciano is withholding information, or if he lied in an attempt to discredit his opponent,” said Rogers, a retired law enforcement officer from Nutley. “This is an integrity test for Mr. Gill, who claims he is not just a party line person. Is he going to fall in line with his party and try to ignore a serious allegation by a sitting freeholder, or is he going to show us that he has the personal integrity to denounce Freeholder Luciano’s actions.”
The statewide director for U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), Gill refused to distance himself from Luciano, whose supporters said the freeholder garbled his delivery at the debate.
“He has my support personally and the support of the Essex County Democratic Organization,” Gill told PolitickerNJ.com, referring to Luciano.
“Quite frankly, I would hope Steve Rogers would talk about what impacts the residents of the Fifth District,” the Democrat added. “I would prefer Mr. Rogers try to explain his continued lack of support for the Essex County Zoo, one of the few things that generates revenue for the county. I would like to hear him talk about sustaining small business.”