It has been no secret since the 2008 presidential election cycle that racism was rampant in Republican ranks. We’ve seen it again and again and we’ve seen excuse after excuse offered in its defense. But those excuses wore thin a long time ago. That doesn’t stop Republicans from continuing to dish it out and acting offended when we react. We just saw Tom Coburn (R-OK) make some very questionable remarks about Obama’s ethnicity and some supposed advantage it gave him (and other black men), and Republicans, as usual, were quick to defend him.
Republican Assemblyman Pat Delany, 42, at least, offered no excuses when he resigned from office following a racist email sent by his wife, Jennifer Delany, to his Democratic opponent, former Olympic Gold medalist Carl Lewis on July 7th. In fact, he didn’t tell the public why he resigned last month until yesterday, simply citing family reasons. He wasn’t exactly lying; he simply didn’t tell the whole truth.
PolitickerNJ.com, which broke the story, reported that her email read in part:
“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 Jennifer Delany was referring to is a mass email sent out by the Lewis campaign. Former Californian Lewis has been fighting to prove his residency so that he can run. This would have been Delany’s first run as well, having been appointed in December to replace Dawn Marie Addiego (R-Burlington) who had been elected to the Senate.
Pat Delany’s statement, issued yesterday, read:
“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,” said the former assemblyman from Lumberton. ”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.”
Delany, aware of his wife’s email and worried about its effect should it become public, had tried to withdraw quietly from the race, telling the Burlington County Republican Committee that he didn’t want to run, and GOP Chairman Bill Layton and members of the county committee “honored his issues by letting him go quietly.” So last month, Delany announced publicly, without giving his reasons that he was not resigning and dropping out of the campaign.
Everything seemed to be fine until PolitickerNJ.com published her racially-charged email, forcing Delany to come clean, and Layton as well. This is what Layton had to say:
“Former Assemblyman Pat Delany’s wife inexplicably sent an offensive and racist email in response to a routine email from Carl Lewis’ campaign; her actions were inexcusable.
“To his credit, Pat voluntarily disclosed the email to me after he found out about it. In an attempt to protect his young children from a hurtful and embarrassing public spectacle involving their mother, Pat decided he would step down from the Assembly and not seek election to a full-term this November. After much deliberation, I agreed to let Pat leave public life without disclosing the reasons for his sudden departure to the press beyond the fact that he was dealing with a serious family issue. In this case, that issue was the severe damage done to his marriage in the aftermath of his wife’s decision to send this offensive email. While it may have been politically expedient to publicly throw Pat under the bus, I believe letting him walk away quietly was the honorable, compassionate thing to do for someone who personally had done nothing wrong.
“At the same time, I was very clear with Pat from the beginning that if he chose to stay on the ballot, the Burlington County Republican Party would have withdrawn our support,” added Layton. “The Burlington County Republican 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. On behalf of the party, I offer Mr. Lewis our apologies for any pain this issue may cause him or his family, and we stand with all Burlington County residents who believe this kind of language has no place in society or in public discourse.”
At least one Republican took personal responsibility without blaming anybody else, without making excuses. The local Republican Party said all the right things, though we could have wished one or the other (preferably both) would have spoken up at the time, without praying it would all go quietly away. What the reaction will be from Republicanism at large is anybody’s guess (though we can make some pretty good guesses).
So far there has been no comment from Jennifer Delany or from the Lewis campaign. Last week, says PolitickerNJ.com, Secretary of State (and Lieutenant Governor) Kim Guadagno notified U.S. District Judge Noel Hillman by letter of her decision to not certify Lewis for the general election.