Have you ever looked at the quality of Republicans in New Jersey and just wonder how in the hell they win at all? I mean, Mike Fergsuon? A four term Congressman? Seriously, we all know there had to be something there.
Well, now we know there is thanks to Allen Raymond, a former GOP operative who wrote a tell-all book (text below from TPM) about his political dirty tricks and what he calls criminal antics. See, he’d know because he was sent to jail for 90 days for illegally jamming the NH State Democratic Party’s phones on election Day 2002.
As an aside, NJ7 GOP candidate Kate Whitman was the NH State Republican Party’s Communications Director that day.
Back to the story, though. Our new friend Mr. Raymond also has a history in NJ with a GOP political firm called Jamestown Associates which has proudly put the mug of one Congressman Mike Ferguson on its home page as proof that they can “win tough campaigns,” including his 2000 race against Maryanne Connelly he just barely won.
Apparently they win close campaigns, and lose close campaigns, by relying on racism and hate. Seriously. Check out what they hired Raymond to do in the 2000 New Jersey election between Congressman Rush Holt (D) and Dick Zimmer (R):
[Tom Blakely from Jamestown Associates] called me up and asked, “How do you guys find voice talent?”
“Well, I’ve got a whole catalog of different voices on CDs. I’ve got ‘single Northeastern female,’ I’ve got ‘Southern belle’ — what are you looking for?”
“We’re targeting Democrats of Eastern European descent using a surname select and geopolitical filter.”
“Oh,” I said, quickly doing the polarizing-voter math in my head. “How about ‘angry black man’?”
“Yeah, that sounds good. What’s his voice sound like?”
So I cued up one particular actor’s CD on my computer and put the phone to the speaker. The track I played was one in which the actor was deliberately playing up a street gang character.
After listening for a few seconds, Blakely said, “That’s the guy!”
So we had the actor record a spot over the telephone saying, “I’m calling as a Democrat, asking you to vote for the Democratic nominee. We need your vote for Holt.”
I’m not saying that all Eastern European whites are racists, but, no matter where or when an election is held, there is a always a cultural divide that you can rely on. The message was “I’m ghetto black calling you, racist Ukrainian guy, and scaring the crap out of you because you probably think that if you don’t vote for the Democrat I’m going to come to your house and take care of some business.”
He’s not saying that all Eastern Europeans are racist; he’s just saying that enough of them are that he preyed on that fear and hate to change their votes. But it wasn’t just Eastern Europeans!
We made calls to Democratic union households supporting Zimmer, taped by actors putting on thick Spanish accents, figuring union workers were the voters who felt most threatened by immigration. The objective was to get them to throw up their hands and stay home on Election Day. We were just forcing those people to make a decision that was true to who they really were. If you want to question someone’s character, look to the people who stayed home because of those calls.
You wonder why there is a fear of Spanish speaking folks in working class NJ? Because jackasses like Jamestown Associates and their clients (Mike Ferguson) fan the flames in order to win elections for themselves. They can call themselves moderates all they want — Jamestown also works for “moderates” Jody Rell and Chris Shays in Connecticut — but they are just as cynical and ready to engage in racist stereotypes as much as any KKK Grand Wizard ever was.
This is your NJ Republican Party: they’re not racist, but they’re happy to take advantage and foment racism to win.