Bi­den calls new Re­pub­li­can ad ‘re­turn of Wil­lie Hor­ton’

The Trentonian (Trenton, NJ) - - NEWS - By Michael Catal­ini

EDI­SON » For­mer Vice Pres­i­dent Joe Bi­den on Thurs­day weighed in on the race to suc­ceed New Jer­sey Gov. Chris Christie, crit­i­ciz­ing a new cam­paign ad from Re­pub­li­can Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno as the “re­turn of Wil­lie Hor­ton” and cast­ing the elec­tion as an op­por­tu­nity to re­buke Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump.

“What’s go­ing on right now is the new ad I just saw,” Bi­den told a crowd in Edi­son while cam­paign­ing with Demo­crat Phil Mur­phy. “The re­turn of Wil­lie Hor­ton,” he said, re­fer­ring to an ex­plo­sive 1988 anti-Michael Dukakis ad.

Hor­ton, a con­victed killer, raped a wo­man while out of prison on a week­end fur­lough. The 1988 spot was de­signed to play on fears that Democrats were sup­pos­edly soft on crime, but the ad fea­tur­ing the black felon was widely con­demned as racist. Dukakis, a Demo­crat, went on to lose to Re­pub­li­can Ge­orge H.W. Bush.

Guadagno’s ad is not the first in the na­tion’s two gu­ber­na­to­rial races to fo­cus on con­cerns over il­le­gal im­mi­gra­tion and in­vite com­par­isons to the Hor­ton spot.

In Vir­ginia, Re­pub­li­can can­di­date Ed Gille­spie aired ad­ver­tis­ing that in­cluded ref­er­ences to the MS-13 gang and sug­gested his Demo­cratic ri­val wanted crim­i­nals on the streets.

In New Jer­sey, ex­perts say it’s un­clear whether Guadagno’s ad might move vot­ers to her camp. But Mon­mouth Univer­sity Polling In­sti­tute Di­rec­tor Pa­trick Mur­ray says it could be a “red-meat” play to the Re­pub­li­can base out­side the state, aimed at at­tract­ing out­side money.

“You take an elec­torate like New Jer­sey, it’s a much big­ger crime to be far right than to be far left,” Mur­ray said of a state where Democrats have a regis­tra­tion edge of about 800,000.

Guadagno ap­peared Thurs­day on the Fox News show “Fox and Friends,” where she con­demned poli­cies that limit co­or­di­na­tion between lo­cal of­fi­cials and fed­eral im­mi­gra­tion-en­force­ment agents. Mur­phy said at a de­bate this week that he would make New Jer­sey a sanc­tu­ary state.


Demo­cratic nom­i­nee Phil Mur­phy and Re­pub­li­can nom­i­nee Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno dur­ing a gu­ber­na­to­rial de­bate at the New Jer­sey Per­form­ing Arts Cen­ter, Tues­day in Ne­wark, N.J.

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