Following a 2nd legislative district debate that was held on Wednesday, State Sen.-elect Vince Polistina (R-Egg Harbor Township) is airing a new ad hitting his opponent, Assemblyman Vince Mazzeo (D-Northfield), for a flub Mazzeo made in a debate six years ago.
The ad has no narration, instead utilizing audio from Mazzeo’s attempt to answer a debate question about why he signed onto a resolution aimed at preventing casino expansion outside of South Jersey, and then whited out his own signature. As Mazzeo stumbles over how to answer the question, the ad displays text slamming him for failing both then and now.
“Six years ago, Vince Mazzeo had no answers on failing to fight North Jersey casinos,” it reads. “Now, Mazzeo has no answer for voting to prevent police from telling parents their kids were caught with drugs [and] weaken penalties for corrupt politicians. No answers. Mazzeo: Not up to the job.”
A statement released alongside the ad further ties the white-out debacle to Mazzeo’s performance in the debate held on Wednesday.
“Whether the question was voting to ban police from telling parents if their kids are caught with drugs or alcohol, avoiding a stance on banning smoking in Atlantic City casinos, or failing to condemn offensive and false political mailers from dark money special interests, Mazzeo had no answers,” Polistina said in the statement. “Whether it was six years ago, or the debate held Wednesday night, one thing is clear; Vince Mazzeo just isn’t up to the job.”
Paul Weborg, Mazzeo’s campaign manager, responded to the Republican attack with a statement defending Mazzeo’s record.
“Vince Mazzeo led the fight against North Jersey gaming and helped defeat the referendum by the largest margin in the history of state ballot questions,” he said. “Vince Polistina’s attacks are not only dishonest, they show a fundamental lack of respect for Atlantic County voters. We assume he’s just prematurely grieving over suffering the same electoral fate as North Jersey gaming (for a second time). “
The Mazzeo campaign has also been airing its own ad against Polistina for several weeks, attacking him for his wealth and connections.
“Vince Polistina is a country club Republican, all right,” the ad’s narrator says. “Polistina is so rich, he owns a mansion in Hollywood, and belonged to two different country clubs here in Atlantic County. And Polistina got rich off our money. He greased the politicians, then got $11 million in government contracts. Polistina even gave a $40,000 tax break to millionaires like himself, then opposed tax relief for the rest of us.”
Polistina and Mazzeo, along with their respective Assembly slates, are locked in a competitive battle for the 2nd legislative district, which covers most of Atlantic County. Polistina won a special election convention for the seat in August, but officially remains a senator-elect because the legislature has not convened to swear him in; Mazzeo, meanwhile, is vacating his Assembly seat to run for the Senate.