Washington Bureau

05.15.14

New Jersey Democrat’s Epic Freakout

A New Jersey Democrat running for Congress told Democrats from one county in her district that they were her "enemies."

And people once thought Chris Christie was a New Jersey pol with an attitude problem.

In recently released audio, State Senator Linda Greenstein, a Democratic candidate for Congress, has been recorded telling a room full of voters, "everybody in here is my enemy." 

Greenstein, along with Assemblywoman Bonnie Watson Coleman, and Assemblyman Upendra Chivukula, has been trying to woo voters in the four different counties of New Jersey's 12th Congressional District in a primary election to succeed longtime incumbent Rush Holt. Now it seems Greenstein, who hails from Plainsboro and is serving her second term in the state senate, is writing off one of those counties altogether.

In a recording posted on the left wing blog Down With Tyranny, Greenstein tells Democrats who lead local chapters of the Democratic Party in Mercer County, "I hate everybody in here. Everybody in here is my enemy--except for the people from Hamilton. The rest of you are my enemies." Several sources have confirmed to the Daily Beast that the voice is Greenstein's. 

On March 26 (the video is dated as March 22), PolitickerNJ  reported, "when it became apparent to [Greenstein] that she could not corral Mercer…Greenstein, according to sources, told the Mercer reps that she hated them…" No evidence of that rumor existed, until now.  

The dispute rested over New Jersey's unique ballot rules in a Democratic primary where county bosses can designate one candidate in the primary as the county party's official candidate. This means the favored candidate gets an advantageous spot on the ballot and a distinct electoral advantage in that county.

A prominent New Jersey Democratic activist who asked to remain anonymous told The Daily Beast that Greenstein is, "erratic…People in the room were probably confused. She has a history of erratic and confusing behavior."

 It's worth noting that Hamilton, the lone municipality in Mercer that Greenstein proclaimed she liked, is not even in the 12th Congressional District. Oops.

UPDATE: In a statement released by the Greenstein campaign to The Daily Beast, a campaign spokesperson didn't deny that Greenstein made those comments, saying “This thinly veiled attempt at intimidation from unnamed party bosses unfortunately reeks of the kind of sexism successful women have had to contend with throughout history. Anonymous smears calling an accomplished female senator "erratic" and claiming that she has a pattern of “confused behavior” is nothing so much as code for “keep the little woman out of our smoke-filled back room.” It is no coincidence that the Democratic Party, on their watch, has never sent a woman to Congress.  Unfortunately for these anonymous party bosses, she has refused to back down from shining the light on how these backroom politicians have worked to promote their agenda. Instead, she will continue to run an aggressive campaign so that every single woman in Central New Jersey knows that their next Congresswoman will never back down from representing the interests of women everywhere, even in the face of intimidation and sexist threats.”

UPDATE #2: Liz Muoio, the chair of the Mercer County Democratic Party, sent an email to The Daily Beast strongly disputing Greenstein's statement. "For Senator Greenstein to play the sexism card as the reason she did not receive the endorsement of Mercer County - one of only 2 Democratic county parties in New Jersey with a woman chair, and a county in which another woman candidate received the endorsement - is disingenuous and an insult to the countless women who have suffered and fought true sexism in the political world . . . Clearly, the results were not what she had hoped for, but to blame them on sexism or on a closed process is deceptive, untrue and insulting."