An apparent gaffe by Democratic congressional candidate Andy Kim was actually a mischaracterization by the debate moderator, his campaign manager said today.
Asbury Park Press reporter Jean Mikle asked Rep. Tom MacArthur (R-Toms River) about a Kim ad that she said attacked MacArthur over insurance claims made by super storm Sandy victims that were denied the company MacArthur once led.
“Congressman, Mr. Kim says your insurance company refused to pay claims to churches, schools and homeowners that lost their property after super storm Sandy,” Mikle said. “He made this claim although you left the company, as far as I know, two years before Sandy.”
It appeared that Kim admitted to knowing that MacArthur had left York Risk Services, an insurance claims management group, two years prior to the company refusing to pay claims to Sandy victims, though he pushed back when MacArthur accused him of lying in the ad.
“I saw the video, and I watched the Asbury Park Press. The moderators got it incorrect. We never said Sandy victims,” Kim campaign manager Zack Carroll said. “We said hurricanes, because MacArthur was the CEO during Wilma, Katrina and Ike, and they were sued numerous times for denying claims to hurricane victims during that time.”
Though the video uses b-roll of destruction caused by Sandy in 2012, two years after MacArthur left his company, it does not otherwise refer directly to the storm that wrecked swathes of New Jersey’s coast.
MacArthur’s campaign has previously called the spot deceptive for that reason, a charge he repeated during Thursday’s debate.
“You just admitted you lied about me, that you knew,” MacArthur said. “You just admitted you knew, and you said it anyway. I don’t get that.”
York was sued over denied claims for damage caused by Hurricane Ike in 2008. Those suits were settled after MacArthur left the company, and they did not name MacArthur.
The debate was billed as a joint interview between the two candidates in New Jersey’s 3rd district.
The Asbury Park Press did not immediately respond to a 4:07 PM request for comment.