Atlantic City Mayor Marty Small, Sr., has a new TV commercial featuring the endorsement of his opponent — sort of.
Small used a video of rival Pamela Thomas-Fields taken at a Democratic county committee meeting last fall when the local party picked him to replace Frank Gilliam as mayor.
Thomas-Fields praised Small in that video, and now the mayor is using Thomas-Fields’ own words to boost his chances in Tuesday’s Democratic primary.
“This is your time and the community is ready for someone who is sincerely concerned about us,” Thomas-Fields said. “We love you and we want to be sure that onwardly and moving forward, you have a city that you could be proud of.”
According to Small, the ad will run “on all major networks until the end of the election.”
Thomas-Fields told the New Jersey Globe that she recorded the video because Small “praised us for giving him an opportunity to be selected, which was a mistake.”
“He’s jealous of Craig Callaway,” she said, referring to the former Atlantic City council president and the titular head of the local Democratic Party.
She slammed Small’s ad.
“I am not surprised by this low blow. Marty is so desperate for votes that he’s resorted to this deceptive tactic,” Thomas-Fields said. “I don’t regret my words from then. But after seeing a lack of sincere leadership in the mayor’s office, I knew it was time to step up.”
Thomas-Fields, Small and Atlantic County Democratic Municipal Chair Gwen Callaway were nominated to fill former Mayor Frank Gilliam’s seat after he resigned following a guilty plea to embezzling $87,000 from a youth basketball league he started.
“I have not yet once disrespected him or his family,” she said. “I have not run one negative ad.”
The ad shows Thomas-Fields fully endorsing Small for mayor, though the ad does not mention that the endorsement was made last year.
“As a woman, he’s undermined my candidacy with belittlement and demeaning remarks from the very beginning,” Thomas-Fields said. “It’s unfortunate that he’s chosen to deploy lies and deception against me. Just imagine what he will do as an elected official.”
Small is the favorite to capture the Democratic nomination.
He has already been endorsed by Gov. Phil Murphy, and U.S. Senators Bob Menendez and Cory Booker.
Small is running on the organization line next week, despite Thomas-Fields’ endorsement by the Atlantic City Democratic organization.
The winner of the primary will face Republican Thomas J. Forkin, a former Democratic municipal chairman and advisor to Mayor James Whelan.