Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton is depicted as encouraging Jersey City residents to “vote for my friends” running on the Jersey City United Board of Education ticket in a last-minute door knocker paid for by a super PAC – though their opponents had an outside source pay for a Clinton-based mailer as well.
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
“…And don’t forget to vote for my friends Luis Felipe Fernandez, Asmaa Abdalla and Matthew Schapiro,” a photo of Clinton says via a speech bubble on a flyer for Jersey City United.
The door knocker also has a door knocker pointed to the JCU candidates names, which are highlighted on a sample of the Jersey City BOE ballot – which are below a group photo of the team.
The campaign literature was paid for by the Better Education for New Jersey Kids, a New Brunswick-based super PAC founded by billionaires David Tepper and Alan Fournier. The group paid for at least one other mailer for the JCU team early in the campaign season.
In a joint statement, the Education Matters team of Sudhan Thomas, Angel Valentin and Gina Verdibello, who have the backing of the local teachers union, called the literature “an insult to education voters.”
“This gross misrepresentation is an insult to educated voters and sets a poor example for the students of the Jersey City Public Schools,” the slate said.
“The Board of Education is a non-partisan election and the repeated claims by Jersey City United and their financial backers BE4NJK as being the ‘Democratic Team”‘are both disingenuous and unethical … We would hope that the Jersey City United candidates would publicly recognize this attempt to falsely connect their campaign with Secretary Clinton and denounce any further assistance from BE4NJK, financial or otherwise, for the remainder of their campaign.”
On a related note, Education Matters had mailer paid for by “Parents Who Care” that depicts a Clinton-style “H” pointing to the JCEA-endorsed candidates on the Jersey City BOE ballot with the Clinton slogan of “I’m with her.”
“I’ve never seen this before and the Education Matters team had nothing to do with this,” said Thomas.
“Historically, from the beginning of the election, the JCU campaign has been misleading this campaign by using images of the next president of the United States and the last straw is they ascribe a false quote to her. It’s desperation.
Better Education Institute, Inc. Executive Director Shelley Skinner and Schapiro declined to comment when reached by Hudson County View this morning, though Schapiro did address criticism when the mailer was posted on Facebook by local blogger Bruce Alston last night.
“We did not create this literature, nor do we approve of it. We certainly support her [Clinton] but that literature is misleading and I wish it was not being distributed on our behalf,” later saying in a subsequent Facebook comment he was unaware of who was distributing the door knocker.
This story was updated to reflect that an outside source was distributing a Hillary Clinton-based mailer for Education Matters.