Editor’s Note: This article was updated with comment from Mickey Quinn at 6:04 p.m.
Mike Testa and conservative radio host Harry Hurley claim want State Sen. Bob Andrzejczak to pull his new ad.
“I rarely comment in this manner. However, comments that were critical of Mike Testa, Jr. attributed to me in a negative television ad being aired by Senator Andrzejczak and his running mates are false and misleading,” Hurley said in a statement provided by Testa’s campaign. “I am asking Senator Andrzejczak and his campaign to do the right thing, take down the ad, as it relates to my comments. These comments don’t accurately reflect my views about Testa.”
The 30-second spot attacks Testa over his job as a criminal defense attorney and cites an attack Hurley made against the Cumberland County GOP chairman during last year’s House primaries.
In the piece published last May, Hurley accused Testa of playing political tricks to deprive Robert Turkavage of the county line and to prevent Brian Fitzherbert from getting a shot at the same.
Turkavage won the county convention but did not file paperwork necessary to take the top ballot position. Hurley wrote at the time that Testa intentionally let the deadline pass so Turkavage would lose his ballot position.
“This is disgusting at every decent and human level,” Hurley wrote. “I spoke with Testa about this. He said that if ‘you’re running for a seat in Congress, it’s your responsibility to know the rules.’ I told him that may be true, but, Turkavage has never run before and he simply didn’t know about the paper work. I also advised Testa that he had a direct responsibility to support the winner of his Convention and that he failed to do his job.”
At that convention, nominators and seconds Fitzherbert had lined up did not stand for him. Hurley wrote he believed Testa pressured them into staying seated and depriving the then-House candidate of a shot at the party line.
Hurley has since called the statements made in that column inaccurate and said he retracted his allegations of political trickery against the chairman.
“The fact of the matter is that 17 months ago, I said things about Mike that were inaccurate. Immediately upon discovering this, I apologized to him in person, retracted them in print, and unambiguously did so again on my radio program (then) and again this morning,” Hurley said in the statement provided by Testa’s campaign. “Mike Testa is a good man. I wish the Democrats campaign would focus on the issues. This is the second time that they have injected me in their campaign.”
The Shore Local News column the ad cites does not feature a retraction. It doesn’t feature an editor’s note of any kind.
A May 25, 2018, Shore Local News article written by Hurley does include some praise of Testa, it does not include a retraction.
“The conversation was entirely respectful and positive. Testa was highly professional throughout and I only feel that it is fair to our readers to follow-up that while I can’t take back my words in total; I can say that I feel differently now about Testa then I did at the time I wrote my stinging rebuke of him a few weeks ago,” Hurley wrote.
“The easiest thing for me to do here would be to say nothing. That’s not how I work. The easy way is usually not the right way. Testa takes a great deal of pride in his leadership responsibilities. I owe it to you, our valued readers, to revise and extend my remarks about Testa. It’s the intellectually honest and right thing to do,” Hurley wrote. “I didn’t get it completely wrong. But, I also didn’t get it completely right.”
This year, Testa has repeatedly called on Andrzejczak to appear at a debate moderated by Hurley.
The Democrat has repeatedly refused, claiming the radio host was propping up Testa’s campaign.
Hurley has not endorsed either candidate.
The candidates have agreed to a debate moderated by the League of Women Voters on Oct. 28.
Democrats intend to keep the ad on the air.
“Not only will the ad not be pulled, we want every LD 1 voter to see it,” Democratic campaign spokesman Mickey Quinn said. “The reality that martyr Mike Testa doesn’t want anyone to know is that the “retraction” contains the phrases “I didn’t get it completely wrong. But, I also didn’t get it completely right” and “I can’t take back my words in total.” And this is where we’re supposed to have a fair debate? There’s really no reason to even dignify this, because it’s just more of the same nonsense we’ve seen throughout this race.”
Andrzejczak’s ad also attacks Testa for his private law practice, attacking the candidate over his defending people accused of murder and other violent crimes, including a case of alleged child molestation.
“The core foundational principle of our U.S. Constitution is that people accused of crimes are innocent until proven guilty,” Testa said. “As a veteran, Bob fought to defend that Constitution and as an elected official he swore to uphold it. So, to see him now stoop to this level tells you how desperate his campaign and the Camden Democrat cartel that funds him is becoming.”