Wednesday September 19th, 2018 6:35PM

Biden calls new Republican ad 'return of Willie Horton'

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

EDISON, N.J. (AP) — 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.

Her campaign unveiled a 30-second TV spot on Wednesday that features the case of Jose Carranza, who was convicted in 2007 in the slayings of three college-bound students in Newark. The Peruvian immigrant was in the country illegally.

The ad features Murphy saying he will have "their back," referring to immigrants in the country illegally, but leaves out the fact he called the murders "heinous" and said criminals should be prosecuted.

The ad was quickly condemned, including by Democratic Sen. Cory Booker's office, which called it "disgraceful," and in an editorial by the state's biggest newspaper.

In Virginia, Gillespie's ad said Democrat Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam's tie-breaking vote against legislation to bar sanctuary cities in Virginia would let MS-13 gang criminals "back on the street."

Trump has endorsed Gillespie in a tweet, citing MS-13, but he hasn't weighed in on the New Jersey race.

Murphy has a lead in polling and more than $5 million in the bank compared with less than $1 million for Guadagno ahead of the Nov. 7 election. The Virginia race is closer, according to polls.

Biden cast the New Jersey race as a referendum on Trump's policies, including his plan to roll back the Obama-era Clean Power Plan.

"This is the — not hyperbole — the single most important race in America that will be taking place this year," Biden said, referring to New Jersey. "Because when you elect this man (Murphy) governor you really are gonna have someone who is a national voice."

Biden is one of several high-profile Democrats Murphy is bringing to the state. Former Secretary of State John Kerry campaigned here on Wednesday and President Barack Obama is slated to come to the state as well.

Obama also is campaigning for Northam in Virginia on Oct. 19.


Contact Catalini at


For more on the New Jersey governor's race, go to'sRace

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Online Headlines - Washington, AP Elections, General Presidential Election News, AP Elections - Campaigns
© Copyright 2018
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Nats name LHP Gonzalez starter for Game 5 of NLDS vs. Cubs
Left-hander Gio Gonzalez will start Game 5 for the Washington Nationals in their NL Division Series against the Chicago Cubs
5:22PM ( 5 minutes ago )
Trump's health care end run reflects frustrations
Frustrated by failures in Congress, Trump tries to put own stamp on health care
5:19PM ( 8 minutes ago )
Mnuchin: Trump hopes to announce Fed chair within a month
Mnuchin says Trump hopes to announce Fed pick in next month but no deadline set
5:14PM ( 13 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Dangerous sound? What Americans heard in Cuba attacks
The Associated Press has obtained a recording of what some U.S. embassy workers heard in Havana as they were attacked by what investigators initially believed was a sonic weapon
4:53PM ( 35 minutes ago )
Biden calls new Republican ad 'return of Willie Horton'
Former Vice President Joe Biden in New Jersey to back Democrat Phil Murphy in this year's gubernatorial contest critiqued a new GOP ad as "the return of Willie Horton."
4:46PM ( 41 minutes ago )
Ryan blasts states that send billions to federal government
The top House Republican slams high-tax states that deliver billions to the federal government as he faces a backlash from rank-and-file GOP lawmakers over a sweeping tax-cutting proposal.
4:37PM ( 51 minutes ago )
AP Online Headlines - Washington
Facebook's Sandberg favors release of Russia-linked ads
Facebook's chief operating officer, Sheryl Sandberg, says the ads linked to Russia trying to influence the US election should 'absolutely' be released to the public.
12:52PM ( 4 hours ago )
Kenya bans opposition protests ahead of new election
Kenya bans opposition protests in major cities ahead of new presidential election
9:44AM ( 7 hours ago )
Former Trump aide Bannon had ties to Harvey Weinstein
Despite Breitbart's attacks on Democrats linked to Harvey Weinstein, Steve Bannon had connections to the now-disgraced Hollywood producer
3:46AM ( 13 hours ago )
AP Elections
Kenya ruling brings new uncertainty to fresh election
Kenya ruling brings new uncertainty to fresh election; lawmakers OK voting law changes
10:45AM ( 1 day ago )
Liberia vote-counting continues as runoff election likely
Liberia vote-counting continues as runoff presidential election likely
9:57AM ( 1 day ago )
Firm behind Trump-Russia dossier subpoenaed by House panel
A political research firm behind a dossier of allegations about President Donald Trump's ties to Russia says it's been subpoenaed by the House intelligence committee
10:12PM ( 1 day ago )
General Presidential Election News
Japan election campaign begins; PM Abe pledges stability
Hundreds of candidates have taken to the streets as the official 12-day campaigning for Japan's Oct. 22 lower house election began, with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's ruling party facing challenges from regrouped opposition forces
1:52AM ( 2 days ago )
Pence raises campaign funds for California House Republicans
Vice President Mike Pence raises campaign dollars to help endangered Republican congressional candidates in California, hoping to foil Democrats' hopes of retaking the House next year
10:44PM ( 2 days ago )
Maine senator's departure could nix bridge between GOP, Dems
Moderate Republican U.S. Sen. Susan Collins says she'll decide during the weeklong Columbus Day recess whether to stay in the Senate or run for governor of Maine
5:40PM ( 2 days ago )
AP Elections - Campaigns
Nats name LHP Gonzalez starter for Game 5 of NLDS vs. Cubs
Left-hander Gio Gonzalez will start Game 5 for the Washington Nationals in their NL Division Series against the Chicago Cubs
5:22PM ( 5 minutes ago )
Mnuchin: Trump hopes to announce Fed chair within a month
Mnuchin says Trump hopes to announce Fed pick in next month but no deadline set
5:14PM ( 13 minutes ago )
Searchers look for bodies in California's charred ruins
Search teams begin grim work of finding more wildfire victims
5:14PM ( 14 minutes ago )
Biden: New campus sex assault guidelines not an improvement
Former Vice President Joe Biden says supporters of recently changed guidelines on sex assaults on college campuses are trying to confuse the issue
5:13PM ( 15 minutes ago )
Plumbing company owner charged in 3 Louisiana slayings
A plumbing company owner is accused of killing three men and shooting a fourth in a string of attacks that began in July in a rural area north of Baton Rouge
5:03PM ( 25 minutes ago )