New Jersey resident Jennifer Delany responded to a blast email from state Senate hopeful and former Olympic gold medalist Carl Lewis by saying, "Imagine having dark skin and name recognition and the nerve to think that equalled (sic) knowing something about politics." Not long afterwards, though the email hadn't been publicized, her husband quit his job as a Republican Assemblyman.
"I am deeply disappointed in my wife's decision to send that email to Mr. Lewis' campaign; it does not reflect my personal beliefs whatsoever," he said in a statement when PolitickerNJ somehow got the email. "In an attempt to repair the serious damage this has caused to our marriage, and to protect our kids from public humiliation, I decided to leave public life. On behalf of my family, we sincerely apologize to Mr. Lewis for any pain this caused him."
Lewis has been in a legal and political battle to meet the residency requirement for running for office. This was Jennifer Delany's full email:
"Imagine, not having to pay NJ state income taxes...It must be nice. Imagine getting a court ruling overturned so your name could get put on the ballot. Imagine having dark skin and name recognition and the nerve to think that equalled (sic) knowing something about politics. Sure, knowing someone with fat purse strings is nice, but you have no knowledge.
"Remove my email. To think you STOLE my email and name from a complaint letter. I'm reporting you as SPAM."
What's interesting about all this isn't Jennifer Delany's nasty and small-minded racism; it's the swiftness by which a Republican lawmaker and a Republican county party chair distanced themselves from it. The Burlington Country Republican chairman said "her actions were inexcusable," and added that its county party "has a proud tradition of being the most inclusive, diverse Republican organization in the state and it's something we are extremely proud of... We stand with all Burlington County residents who believe this kind of language has no place in society or in public discourse." Contrast that with, say, the minimal consequences met last year by New York gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino, who forwarded creepy racist and sexist emails. Then again, he did lose.