Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop is calling a complaint Democratic gubernatorial candidate Phil Murphy filed with the NJ Election Law Enforcement Commission (ELEC) the result of a “floundering, desperate” campaign, but Murphy’s team has a predictably different point of view.
“I mean, look, if you have a floundering, desperate campaign that isn’t going anywhere then you try and take shots at people,” Fulop told Hudson County View after a press conference announcing an $8.4 million grant for the Jersey City Fire Department.
“Look, we’re not going to get into the back and forth with him either. Our focus right now is making sure that Jersey City continues to move in the direction of a world class city, today was another step in that direction. People want to get their name in the paper and file complaints and frivolous charges … they’re entitled to that.”
Murphy filed an amended complaint against Fulop that was certified on September 7, claiming that the mayor is using his mayoral account – which has raised $1.32 million and spent $1.25 million according to his July 14 ELEC filing – to run for governor.
The only declared candidate ahead of June 2017, Murphy points to Fulop raising money for a super PAC linked to his expected statewide candidacy and attending events touting him as the next governor (including a Newark event that had a banner that said as much).
The latest version of the complaint also questions why Fulop and the Jersey City Democratic Organization are hosting end of summer barbecues in Paramus and Freehold.
Derek Roseman, a spokesman for the Murphy campaign, was not impressed by Fulop’s reaction to the complaint.
“The mayor and his ‘non-campaign’ campaign have repeatedly and blatantly crossed the line of election law in both word and spirit,” he said over the phone.
“There’s a time for transparency and a time for living up to the spirit of our laws as well. And that time comes when politicians like Steve Fulop keep trying to play games with our campaign election law.”
ELEC is unlikely to make a ruling on Murphy’s campaign before New Jersey voters pick a Democratic gubernatorial nominee next year, given that their board currently has four vacancies and only one member (h/t The Record).