Click play for audio version of this story
Democrats have withdrawn support of Jeana Sager’s campaign for Middletown Township Committee and condemned her statement that police officers are criminals who should not play a role in combating the opioid crisis.
Her running mate, Sean Byrnes, has called on her to drop out of the race, and says if she doesn’t, he will.
The comments my running mate made about police officers in a recently released video are categorically false and derogatory. I won’t stand for that type of behavior, and if she does not agree to withdraw her candidacy, then I will drop out as a candidate for Township Committee,” Byrnes said. “I cannot, in good conscience, run alongside someone with such hateful beliefs.”
Sager told a group of marijuana advocates that she “needs to be careful” what she says during the campaign so she can get elected, but pledged to replace drug treatment centers with syringe access centers and syringe treatment facilities, according to a video posted on More Monmouth Musings, a news site that covers local politics.
“I do need to be careful because if I do want to make office, I need to actually get elected,” said Sager.
“The Middletown Democrats have acted swiftly and decisively upon seeing the video of Jeana Sager’s statements disparaging police officers,” said Middletown Democratic Municipal Chairman Michael Dicicco. “We have withdrawn our endorsement of her candidacy for Township Committee and will commit no resources to her campaign which we have asked her to end. Her comments are inaccurate, unfounded, and hurtful.”
Monmouth County Democratic Chairman David Brown slammed Sager for her statements.
“The comments made Jeana Sager shouldn’t be said on camera or behind closed doors, because they are unequivocally wrong,” Brown said. “Her false and demeaning assertions do not represent the values of the Monmouth County Democratic Party or the dozens of Democratic candidates trying to better their community across our county.
Brown said that Monmouth Democrats “will not stand for this disgraceful behavior now or in the future.”
Byrnes expressed disgust at the way Sager spoke of police officers.
“Every day police officers risk health and harm to deal with crises in our community. They are face-to-face with substance abuse, horrific car accidents, domestic violence, unpredictable traffic stops, physical violence, and threats from the most desperate members of our society,” said Byrnes. “I am grateful for their service and believe we owe them all a debt of gratitude.
Dicicco echoed Byrne’s tribute to local law enforcement.
“We respect and honor the work of police officers, especially the officers in Middletown who make Middletown one of the safest communities in New Jersey and the United States,” said Dicicco.
Sager and Byrnes are challenging incumbents Kevin Settembrino and Rick Hibell.