A South Amboy councilman running for mayor is the latest candidate to forget to scrub his social media page before filing a nominating petition.
Brian McLaughlin, who is mounting an off-the-line challenge to three-term incumbent Fred Henry, Jr. in the June 7 Democratic mayoral primary, has a long history of posting misogynistic, race-baiting, foul-mouthed, and off-color memes of his Facebook page.
The two-term councilman reposted a meme that said,” One million bikers protest in DC. Not one store looted, fire set, or officer wounded.”
But McLaughlin didn’t fully understand the post.
“There’s nothing racial or anything,” he told the New Jersey Globe. “It wasn’t for that reason. There was nothing malicious about it, that’s for sure.”
He also defended an old meme that had photos of women with the breasts nearly exposed as a way of mocking the New England Patriots, whose “female Patriots fan” was a man in top.
“Can we just be regular people?” McLaughlin asked in a short telephone interview. “If I’m posting stuff, just I don’t know why people are offended.”
One meme says, “They say I act like I don’t give a fuck. I tell them that I’m not acting.”
Another says that “women are like bacon: they look good, smell good, taste good, and slowly kill men.” McLaughlin posted that in 2013 and again in 2019.
Some of his posts are harmless, like one that proposes fashioning a Styrofoam pool noodle atop bucket, with a roll of toilet paper on the handle, to solve camping problems. This was McLaughlin’s “Daily Dose of LMAO.”
Others are arguably funny, in a funny is in the eyes of the beholder sort of way: he posted a meme of a sinking ship that said, “Welcome Aboard the S.S. Red Sox.”
But the context of other posts is less clear.
Some of his posts mock fellow Democrats, including former President Barack Obama, former New York City Mayor Bill deBlasio, and Gov. Phil Murphy.
“I just saw on the news that Gov. Murphy supports later starts of the school day. That’s absolutely ridiculous,” McLaughlin wrote on Facebook. “Great way to get our youth ready for the real world. Participation trophy’s did enough damage to this generation.”
McLaughlin said his comments shouldn’t be viewed as a shot at the governor.
“I happen to like Phil Murphy,” he said.
In blue collar South Amboy, where Republican Jack Ciattarelli outpolled Murphy by 383 votes, 57%-43%, that might not necessarily hurt him, even in a Democratic primary.
A retired New Jersey correction officer, McLaughlin is a business representative for the Dockbuilders and Timberman Union Local 1556.
He said he got in the race against Henry to support off-shore energy proposals, like one proposed by Atlantic Power Transmission that would run underground cables that would extend to a non-beach location in South Amboy. He also packs a Rise Light & Power plan that would turn an abandoned coal plant in his town into a renewable energy hub.
“That would mean a lot of jobs for the union I work for,” he said.