NEPTUNE TWP – Alongside Democratic gubernatorial candidate Barbara Buono, Lee Ann Newland and John Lambert stood in front of the ravaged wreck of their ranch home here and denounced Gov. Chris Christie’s appearance in an ad ostensibly designed to boost beach tourism in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.
“Watching the Jersey Strong ads and seeing the governor in them – I’m very disappointed,” Lambert said.
“It doesn’t seem right,” added Newland of the ads, which feature Christie boostering for the shore and cost the state taxpayers nearly $5 million, according to a report in the Asbury Park Press.
“Those funds could go toward the people. That $2 million (the difference between the Christie-featured ads and a denied bid without Christie) could help 20 homeowners. Jersey Strong is Jersey wrong.”
Buono chipped in more outrage.
“It’s got to be a stinging rebuke,” said the gubernatorial candidate. “$2 million to promote someone’s road to the White House. He needs to reimburse those funds at the very least.”
Governor’s spokesman Michael Drewniak responded in an email.
“Senator Buono has her facts all wrong and is willfully abusing the truth,” Drewniak said. “As part of the $25 million advertising campaign approved by the Obama Administration, there would have been a commercial broadcast component from any of the bidders. The cost differential between the qualified bidders was due to MWW’s much more aggressive, labor-intensive work in producing and supporting a large number of localized events, coordination with businesses, municipalities, and local and regional tourism organizations. The MWW campaign offered a wider platform of events and media strategies, was a far better value overall, and let people know that the Jersey Shore was ready and open for business this summer.”