Congressional hopeful fights off accusations of sexism after posting HCDO protest flyer


John Flora, a Jersey City teacher and a congressional candidate in the 10th district, is fighting off accusations of sexism after posting a Hudson County Democratic Organization protest flyer that depicts County Executive Tom DeGise as controlling the chair of the party – his daughter Amy DeGise.

A flyer made by congressional hopeful John Flora to promote a rally on Saturday.

By John Heinis/Hudson County View

“Tom DeGise was mentioned more by the Hudson County [Democratic] Committee people than Amy. People would not talk about abolishing the line without consulting ‘with Tom’ first,” the flyer, promoting a Saturday rally outside HCDO headquarters calling for the elimination of party lines, says.

The post, which appeared on Flora’s Instagram page, questions why committee people have no say in county endorsements, even after Amy DeGise won a hotly contested battle for HCDO chair against state Senator (D-33)/Union City Mayor Brian Stack in June 2018.

Speaking with HCV, Amy DeGise said she resented the graphic, particularly since Flora has not taken aim at the Dem party chair in Essex County, LeRoy Jones, despite the fact that around 80 percent of the votes in the 10th congressional district are outside of Hudson.

“It’s another example of the unnecessary in-fighting that is damaging our party. I’ve never attacked John Flora’s campaign. Over 80% of his votes will come from outside of Hudson County, yet he only attacked me and not my male counterpart in Essex County,” she said.

“Labelling me as a puppet is parallel to the idea that women can’t handle leadership and will just do what they’re told to do. I resent that sentiment, I work hard to combat that idea as he is not the first person to question my abilities. The antiquated, traditional gender role claims women can’t hack it as leaders and that we’re not tough enough to be decisive.”

Flora campaign manager Jill Pitman responded that infighting has occurred as the result of Amy DeGise refusing to meet with anyone from the Flora team, also noting that the rally was organized in response to HCDO members speaking out against an open presidential primary.

” I am sure Ms. Degise had an opportunity to see this so her reaction to our activism is disingenuous at best. The puppet meme did not refer to her gender or ability to lead due to her gender,” Pittman said.

” … To say we were conveying a message that is gender biases is ludicrous. John Flora is a proponent of women’s rights and equality. In fact if he felt women were not able to lead, why would he hire a female campaign manager?”

Pittman also said the image simply reflected what committee members told them: that they would need to “talk to Tom” before entertaining any conversations about an endorsement to run on the HCDO line.

The HCDO backed all of their federal representatives, including Payne, when they announced their endorsements for the June primary last month.


Editor’s note: This story was updated with a comment from the Flora campaign. 

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  1. Dear John Flora,
    I had the opportunity to meet you at a Congressman Frank Guarini Institute Panel Discussion on the 2nd Amendment at St. Peter’s University in Jersey City about two years ago. I appreciate your sincere dedication to raising the standard of living for our most vulnerable residents. I believe you know that I share your passion as a fellow progressive. I read your comments in another news outlet about how you consider Senator Sanders, whom you have staunchly supported since 2015, as the best chance to defeat Trump and bring about the change that you ( and I) desire. I ask you to seriously consider the following. It was not Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez who helped usher in the Blue Wave in 2018 that created our Democratic House Majority. It was the Democrats who beat Republicans in districts Trump won in 2016. ( AOC deserves credit for unseating a powerful Democrat to be sure, but he, too, of course would have easily defeated her Republican challenger, as well.) I submit that you really need to reflect on the ramifications of what your actions could directly contribute to if you are successful. While many of Senator Sander’s aspirational goals are indeed noble in scope, our Democracy necessarily functions by majority rule ( except, sadly, the antiquated system of the Electoral College, which was created at least in part, for Southern large slave plantation owners to put their thumbs unfairly against the scales of justice via the hideous “Three-Fifths Compromise”.) Yet your desire to throw your lot all-in with the Independent Senator Sanders, and expect the HCDO to endorse you over the Democrat Incumbent Donald Payne, Jr. is definitely a Bridge Too Far.

    The most recent time North Hudson had a Republican in the Assembly was about 30 years ago, when Jose Arango, my friend and Memorial High School fellow Class of ’77 alumnus took advantage of a schism in the HCDO. The last time a Republican represented most of Hudson County was in the 1950’s (Vincent Delay, of WNY) While I support your right to run, and share your passion for Justice for All, an ascendancy of Sanders as Democratic Party Nominee for President, and commensurate primary victories by congressional candidates in other districts accross America by those who support Sanders will absolutely lead to Trump’s re-election, the failure to take back the Senate, and the loss of the House. Incumbent Republican Presidents ( with HIGHER RATES OF UNEMPLOYMENT) OBLITERATED LIFE-LONG DEMOCRATIC LIBERALS IN THE 1972 AND 1984 ELECTORAL COLLEGES 49 STATES TO 1, YET YOU HONESTLY THINK A LIFELONG “DEMOCRATIC SOCIALIST WILL BEAT TRUMP????! Trump WILL beat Sanders in New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Arizona, and every other state he defeated Clinton in except for Michigan. Furthermore, Democratic Senate candidate Mark Kelly, who currently leads McSally by 4 points in Arizona WILL LOSE IF SANDERS IS NOMINEE. Please. John, consider the reality of the big picture. Thanks.

    Patrick Cullen