Pastorgate! Guadagno campaign accuses Murphy campaign of fabricating Hispanic pastors’ press release
Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno’ gubernatorial campaign today accused former Goldman Sachs backer Phil Murphy’s team of fabricating an organization of Hispanic pastors, and forging real pastors signatures on a press release from the fake group. The phony release attacked Guadagno’s campaign ad, “Sanctuary.”
West Long Branch, NJ – In a desperate attempt to change the subject away from Phil Murphy’s support of a sanctuary state, his campaign fabricated a press release of Hispanic clergy members attacking Kim Guadagno. Politico NJreported the organization named on the press release masthead is fake and several clergy members said their names were added to the release without their knowledge or permission.
“It is beyond the pale for Phil Murphy to go as far as to create a fake organization and forge the signatures of Hispanic clergy members to falsely attack Kim Guadagno,” said Guadagno Spokesman Ricky Diaz. “It should give all New Jerseyans pause that Phil Murphy would take advantage of men of the cloth to lie to the people of New Jersey. Phil Murphy should immediately take responsibility and apologize to these clergy members.”
The Murphy campaign did not deny it wrote and distributed the press release, and they were aware of it before it was released.
Poltico-NewJersey broke the story this afternoon of the press release circulating in New Jersey that purports to be from Hispanic pastors condemning Guadagno’s campaign ad which points out the dangers of Democrat gubernatorial candidate’s pledge to make New Jersey a sanctuary state.
At least two of the pastors, including the father of Guadagno’s Deputy Chief of Staff, say their names were added to the release without their knowledge or permission. Additionally, the organization that purportedly issued the release, “Coalicion de Pastores de New Jersey en Defensa de los inmigrantes,” does not appear to officially exist, according to Politico-NJ and SaveJersey.
SaveJersey posted the Spanish language release and the following translation:
The ad issued by the campaign of Lieutenant Governor Guadagno is a continuation of the disguised racism that prevails in the country and has filtrated itself in our state and cities.
We the members of the Hispanic clergy of New Jersey believe in a faithful and just God who loves all of his children, without considering their nationality, race or creed. Therefore, we condemn this misleading ad, that only serves to ferment xenophobia and a displaced nationalism and anti-immigrant.
What is more, under any circumstance, we believe that Ambassador Murphy supports someone who has robbed someone else of their life, or support criminals. New Jersey is a state made up of and sustained by immigrants from every part of the world and takes pride in its multiculturalism and tolerance of others. We believe that Mr. Murphy represents this philosophy of respect for others and that which is just and dignified in our society.
In the last instance, this signifies more than a political campaign…this is about our lives, and we ask our congregations to pay attention to the dialogue that is being developed and recognize who will work for us with decency and respect.
Politico-NJ reported that the listed contact on the release, Rev. Pablo Pizarro of the Lighthouse Assembly of God in Newark, said that he did not see the entire release before it was distributed via email, that he did not agree with all of it.
“They put this letter together and they slapped our names on it. Some of us agree with it and some of us don’t. I take a neutral stance on it,”
Pizarro would not name who put the release together. He said he spoke with someone he believes works for the Murphy campaign about the release before it was distributed.
The Murphy campaign would not answer Politico-NJ’s questions about whether it had anything to do with the creation or distribution of the release. They issued a statement praising it:
“We were made aware that these Latino pastors were working together to stand up for their communities and for what’s right. We applaud them for doing so,”
The Rev. Jose C. Lopepz, President of The Evangelical Pastors Association of Hudson County, and the father of Abe Lopez, Guadagno’s Deputy Chief of Staff, issued a press release condemning the the fabricated release and calling on Murphy to “hold his team responsible for this terrible act.”