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Democratic congressional candidate Stephanie Schmid. (Photo: Kevin Sanders for the New Jersey Globe)

Schmid launches ad touting her history

Conforti says omissions about legal career concerning

By Nikita Biryukov, May 27 2020 10:51 am

House candidate Stephanie Schmid premiered a three-minute-long ad touting her career’s trajectory and time she spent working in the U.S. Department of State.

“I hope that when people hear my story of public service and commitment to always putting our country before party and people before partisanship, they feel inspired to vote for change here in New Jersey’s 4th District,” Schmid said.

The ad begins with a brief overview of Schmid’s childhood meant to beef up her New Jersey bonafides with mentions of Schmid’s childhood love of the Jersey Shore.

The lengthy spot then moves through various phases of Schmid’s political career, beginning with her congressional internship in Rep. Chris Smith’s (R-Hamilton) office in the 1990s.

It eventually highlights her work with the State Department before moving on to Schmid’s work with the Center for Reproductive Rights, where the candidate pushed the Reproductive Rights are Human Rights Act, a Democratic bill that stalled in the House after being introduced.

“I have dedicated my life to lifting up and serving those struggling in our community as well as the most vulnerable communities around the world,” Schmid said. “It would be an honor and privilege to serve our community as the first Congresswoman from NJ-04 and bring my dedication, passion, and experience to Washington on behalf of NJ-04.”

But the ad makes some omissions. Most notably, there’s no mention of Schmid’s time as a litigation attorney, a role that saw Schmid defend issues and organizations that her primary opponents see as a weakness.

Before joining the State Department in 2011, Schmid worked as a litigation attorney at two separate firms.

According to her Linkedin profile, she defended mid-level executives at Transocean, the company that operated the Deepwater Horizon Oil Rick at Fox Rothschild LLP.

“I think it fits in an incomplete narrative of fighting for human rights without speaking to the first phase of her career, which I feel demonstrates poor judgement and at least requires some sort of explanation,” said rival Democratic candidate Christine Conforti.

It’s not clear whether voters will respond to the spot in the same way. Absent spending from her primary opponents, it’s not likely primary voters will learn of Schmid’s history, though environmental issues tend to cut across party lines in the fourth congressional district, and it’s possible the candidate’s time as a litigant will come with a price.

Conforti, for one, said she believed the omissions were dishonest.

“I respected people who can say they’ve changed, they’ve grown, they’ve learned, people who kind of speak to what might in the past a mistake but at least own it and explain it and share with voters where you’re at now,” she said. “The fact that it’s completely omitted, I think, is problematic and speaks to a lack of integrity and truth telling.”

It’s not clear when and where the ad will run, and Schmid’s campaign did not say how much it spent on the buy.

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