The last two weeks have been turbulent for Anthony Cappola. He was one of LD38’s Republican candidates, he was forced to step down from his position on the River Edge Council, made to drop out of the assembly race and told he would be replaced on the ballot with Fernando Alonso. Then, on Wednesday, he learned that the Bergen County Republican Organization dropped their petition to remove him from the ballot due to financial constraints. Now, he is trying to resuscitate his candidacy in a district that had initially been considered one of the most competitive in the state.
“My name is not off the ballot, which is giving me a very unique opportunity to clear the air and really speak to the true Anthony Cappola who I am,” Cappola told PolitickerNJ. “I was asked to step down by the state Republicans and I did it because I am a team player. But, I did not want to do that, I wanted to fight. I stepped down and I thought it would just be over, but it is not over.”
Now, Cappola said he has to opportunity to do what he initially wanted to do when Politico reported that he had written a book 12 years ago containing hateful speech against minority groups, gays, Jews and many others: explain himself.
“I wrote a book that was raunchy, that was insensitive, I admit it,” Cappola said. “It was satire. It is even labeled as satire on Amazon.com. I was and am a stand-up comedian. I was looking to be outrageous. I was looking to be a Howard Stern.”
According to Cappola, that desire to come off as “raunchy” when he was writing the book has cast him in an unfavorable light that does not accurately reflect who he is.
“I am not a racist, I am not an anti-Semite, I am not homophobic, I don’t hate Asians,” said Cappola. “I am married to a Korean woman. I speak basic Korean, I speak fluent Spanish, I speak basic Italian. My son is Korean. I employ gay people and I have gay friends. My lesbian neighbor up the block from me, I went to her to apologize to her about some of the stuff and she wouldn’t even let me apologize. She said ‘Anthony, you don’t have to apologize, I know you.’”
According to Cappola, the book was not a secret during his run for Assembly or during his run for River Edge council.
“I have always been up front about it,” Cappola said. “I said to my team that I did write three books. Two were on business and one was a raunchy—and I specifically said ‘Howard Stern meets Rush Limbaugh’—book. Everybody knew about this book.”
Cappola said that while his team and staffers knew about the book, there was one person who did not: BCRO Chairman Bob Yudin.
“The only person I know is that our chairman Bob Yudin didn’t know about it and that is because I was not working with Chairman Yudin directly,” Cappola said. “He was not part of my circle of campaign aids and campaign advisers. He is predominantly working on the freeholder race. So that is the disconnect.”
When the information about Cappola’s book came out, his running mate Mark DiPisa was quick to denounce him.
“I have nothing against Mark,” Cappola said. “He is entitled to his opinions. But I know who I am and I know I deserve to be on this ballot.”
Cappola continued by stating that his campaign would now be focusing on talking to constituents and focus on clearing his name.
“This is all literally just happening minute by minute,” Cappola said. “At this minute, obviously things are not going to go back to how they were in August. There is a lot of stuff that has been said and a lot of structures that have been remade. It will be a different campaign for me.”
Cappola said he plans to continue working to clear his name no matter what November 3 holds.
“I will speak to any group: any LGBT group, any Asian group, any Muslim group,” Cappola said. “We can meet in February, we can meet in the summer. This is not about politics. I want people to know that I am a good person and I have nothing to hide.”
Cappola said he is weighing his options and considering attending the October 21 LD38 debate in Paramus.