ATLANTIC CITY — Democratic challenger for Mayor Tom Foley acknowledged Monday he is a supporter of President Donald Trump and Congressman Jeff Van Drew, R-2nd, but said that doesn't make him any less a Democrat.
He voted Democratic right down the ticket in November, he said, other than Trump and Van Drew, both of whom he knows well and considers friends. He said his former wife worked for Van Drew for 30 years.
"You telling me Marty Small never voted for a friend?" Foley said.
Foley said he supports Trump because the former president provided tens of thousands of jobs in Atlantic City through the many casinos he either built or finished after others started them, keeping them from failing.
Incumbent Mayor Marty Small Sr. sent out a press release Monday with photos of Foley in MAGA gear, calling Foley's seeking the Atlantic City Democratic Club endorsement "laughable" because of his support for Trump.
The Atlantic City Democratic Committee is due to vote on its slate of endorsed candidates from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. Monday.
“The irony of this guy power walking on the Atlantic City Boardwalk with a MAGA hat, a MAGA Flag on his home, Jeff Van Drew lawn signs on his lawn, personal Christmas Cards and Autographed MAGA hats from Donald Trump, all while attending Trump rallies like the insurrection on January 6th, and now he wants to run for Mayor as a Democrat?" Small said. "(It) is laughable."
Foley hit back.
"That's the president of the United States. This is the city of Atlantic City," Foley said. "People who live here — that's my concern. We have the worst unemployment in the city than we've seen in decades. But Mr. Small is giving himself a $40,000 raise. There are people in public works who make less than $28,000 a year — you tell me that's fair?"
Small called the vote at the city Democratic committee "meaningless, my team and I are already the official endorsed democratic slate for Atlantic City Mayor and Council At-Large by the Atlantic County Democratic Committee."
Last week Michael Suleiman, chair of the Atlantic County Democratic Committee, announced he would award the county line in the June primary to Small and his three running mates on Atlantic City ballots.
Suleiman said at the time that political organizer Craig Callaway has too much influence on the Atlantic City Democratic Committee, and does not have the best interests of the Democratic Party in mind. Callaway openly worked get-out-the-vote efforts for Van Drew in the November general election, making more than $110,000 from the campaign, and may be working for the GOP again this year.
Usually the Atlantic City Democratic Committee's choice for whom to support in a municipal election would determine which municipal candidates get the coveted first line on a primary ballot.
Suleiman said he would not support Callaway's "hand-picked municipal candidates while he continues to work for Trump Republicans. Therefore, I am putting Mayor Small and his Council slate on the Atlantic County Democratic Party line this upcoming June."
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