Assemblyman John Wisniewski’s campaign for the New Jersey’s Democratic gubernatorial nomination is in turmoil after Robert Becker left as campaign manager after it was disclosed that the lawmaker had accepted contributions from tobacco companies, polluters and convicted criminals.
The candidate announced that Kevin Keefe will be taking over for Becker, returning to work for Wisniewski, who he met while leading the drive to get Bernie Sanders on the ballot in New Jersey last year.
Another consultant who worked for Wisniewski said the allegations troubled Becker and expressed doubt that his replacement could shoulder the burden of running the campaign.
Becker served on U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign as Iowa State Director, before moving on to oversee operations in Michigan, New York, and California as Deputy National Field Director. Keefe has a history as field operations manager in various campaigns across the country.
The split came because Wisniewski traded political influence & campaign contributions for no-bid contracts that paid him millions at taxpayer expense plus he took donations from tobacco companies & polluters but he has tried to cloak himself in Sanders swag in order to compete with Wall Street billionaire Phil Murphy, who is using his Goldman Sachs fortune trying to buy the Democratic nomination.
Becker left the campaign soon after a March 28, 2017 email exposed the lawmaker’s connections to big tobacco, including the fact that Wisniewski accepted at least $6,350 from R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Company.
Becker previously managed former Morris County Prosecutor Michael Murphy’s 1997 New Jersey gubernatorial race. In 2000, Becker worked for former New Jersey Sen. Bill Bradley’s presidential campaign and in total has spent 28 years managing Democratic campaigns, across two dozen states.
Wisniewski campaign spokesman Gregory Minchak confirmed that Becker’s departure coincided with the email, which was sent by Democrat Lisa McCormick, who opted to drop out as a candidate and joined two other would -be contenders, Monica Brinson and Paul Binetti, in endorsing Senator Ray Lesniak for the Democratic nomination.
The Vermont Senator made no endorsement in the Garden State governor’s race, snubbing Wisniewski after the lawmaker who was the New Jersey chairman of Bernie Sanders’ 2016 presidential campaign for many of the same reasons.
“In 2015, Wisniewski voted to let tobacco companies cut their court-ordered payments to New Jersey,” said McCormick. “New Jersey lawmakers bailed out some tobacco bonds, trading $400 million in future revenues for a fast $92 million. Then they agreed to accept reduced payments from the tobacco lawsuit settlement.”
“While collecting an estimated $921 million from state revenue from cigarette taxes and the tobacco settlement money, Wisniewski & other lawmakers allocated zero dollars in the last four New Jersey budgets to encourage people to stop smoking or break their nicotine addiction,” said McCormick.
“New Jersey has repeatedly been ranked worst in the nation for state spending on smoking cessation & tobacco prevention programs,” said McCormick. “Medical expenses associated with smoking and tobacco use, including cancer treatment, cost New Jersey about $4 billion annually, but the state has not provided any funding for tobacco prevention since 2012.”
“Instead of fighting to save the lives of our children and adults, John Wisniewski has been pocketing money from tobacco companies for several decades & allowing your tax dollars to go up in smoke,” said McCormick. “Wisniewski also took money from Philip Morris.”
“John Wisniewski is a millionaire who does not care about you, so use the image above to help illustrate how cowardly, irresponsible & greedy politicians sell us out to killer tobacco companies,” said McCormick.
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