Chicago Style dirty tricks have it New Jersey, the Democratic Party is waging a robocall campaign in support of the Independent Candidate for Governor Christopher Daggett trying to peel off votes from Republican Candidate Chris Christie and help incumbent Jon Corzine.
Larry Powers, a Bridgewater resident and member of that town’s Republican committee, said he got the same call today. Powers said he suspected Democrats are aiming the Daggett calls at Somerset County Republicans who may have been inclined to back Daggett or write in Steve Lonegan’s name before Lonegan appeared with Christie at a rally in Flemington Saturday. Daggett lives in Somerset County.
At first the Democrats denied the dirty trick, Democratic state chairman Joe Cryan flatly denied the state committee was behind the calls. “No. Zero. Nada. No,” he said. But later today the state committee admitted to paying for the calls:
The Democratic State Committee now admits paying for a robocall to Somerset County voters that slams Republican Chris Christie and promotes independent gubernatorial candidate Christopher Daggett.
A Democratic spokeswoman says the party’s chairman, Joe Cryan, was not aware of the robocalls when he denied that the state committee had anything to do with them yesterday afternoon.
Cryan, who told PolitickerNJ.com yesterday afternoon that the Democratic State Committee had “absolutely” nothing to do with the call, could not immediately be reached for comment.
The call angered Republicans and further fueled conspiracy theories that Daggett is in cahoots with the Corzine camp. A disclaimer at the end says it was paid for by Victory ’09, “a project of the NJDSC” (Democratic State Committee), and gave the committee’s Trenton address.
Daggett, for his part, disavowed the call.
“Voters hate robocalls. This is just another instance of the dishonest ways Democrats and Republicans use to win campaigns and to fool voters,” he said in a statement this afternoon. “It is little wonder more and more voters are rejecting these kind of desperate dirty tricks and turning to my campaign for a positive message about how to make New Jersey more affordable and competitive.’’
Before the Democrats owned up to it, Daggett media advisor Bill Hillsman said the call might be Republican trick to generate a sympathetic newspaper story.
“Yesterday, Jon Corzine’s party boss Joe Cryan said that ‘No, zero, nada, no,’ when asked if he had anything to do with the robocalls,” said Kevin Roberts, a spokesman for the Republican State Committee. “Today, it’s clear that Cryan is an outright liar. Corzine’s party boss knows what we know – Jon Corzine’s record is so dreadful that they feel a need to try to trick voters into a second term.”
In other robocall news, the Democratic State Committee is calling voters with a recording of President Obama imploring residents to “get out and vote on Tuesday, and vote for my friend and your governor, Jon Corzine.”
The Star-Ledger has audio of the call on the website.
During the past few weeks the word on the street has been that Obama’s people have taken over the Corzine campaign, this reeks of the “Chicago Way.”