Gov. Phil Murphy slammed national Republicans over an ad charging a Democratic congressman in one of the state’s most competitive districts was pro-sex offender Monday.
“This attack on Tom Malinowski is wrong and despicable. Tom Kean, Jr. and national Republicans aren’t telling the truth and they know it — that’s why six local GOP leaders have called for this ad to be pulled off the air,” Murphy said in a statement. “Tom Malinowski has worked across party lines to make health care more affordable and ensure Main Street and small businesses get their fair share of funding during the pandemic.”
The ad, paid for by the National Republican Congressional Committee, alleges Rep. Tom Malinowski (D-Ringoes) lobbied against a portion of a 2006 bill that created a national sex offender registry while serving as Washington director for Human Rights Watch.
The congressman’s name appeared on a lobbying disclosure related to the bill, though Malinowski and Jennifer Daskal, the Human Rights Watch colleague who was the issue’s primary lobbyist, have said the congressman was not at any point involved in efforts to block the measure.
The 30-second spot has become a focal point in the conflict between Malinowski and State Senate Minority Leader Tom Kean (R-Westfield), the Republican seeking Malinowski’s seat.
It shows cities and suburban neighborhoods during the night and features ominous voiceover and a grainy photo of the congressman.
Script: “In every city, in every neighborhood, around every corner, sex offenders are living among us. But Tom Malinowski tried to make it easier for predators to hide in the shadows. Malinowski worked as the top lobbyist for a radical group that strongly opposed the national sex offender registry. Law enforcement praised the national sex offender registry that Tom Malinowski led an effort to stop. After two decades in Washington, Tom Malinowski has become dangerously radical.”
The NRCC put $250,000 behind the ad, which is running on cable television networks in the district.
Democrats aren’t the only ones opposed to the spot.
On Friday, three sitting and three former Republican mayors called on the NRCC to pull the ad, warning that leaving it up on the air
“As current and former Republican elected officials, we urge the National Republican Congressional Committee to withdraw its ad suggesting that Congressman Malinowski somehow supports sex offenders,” they said. “The accusation is false. What’s more, the ad plays into and amplifies a dangerous current of fear in our politics, which is turning Americans against one another and distracting us from the real challenges our country faces.”