Yesterday's post, CD 6 Getting Hotter has caused quite a stir in both the Gooch and Little campaigns.
This morning at Little's Run for Your Rights motorcycle rally, the alleged "whisper campaign" trashing Little and her family by Gooch supporters was a hot topic of conversation. A prominent businessman with personal ties to both Gooch and Little told me he had heard the whispers.
Toni Angelini of the Gooch campaign contacted me today. She was quite upset about the allegations. "We are not running that kind of campaign and we are not talking about Anna or her family," Angelini said, "There was no official campaign activity in Atlantic Highlands yesterday." I asked, "what does, official campaign activity mean? Was Diane in Atlantic Highlands yesterday?" "No," was her reply.
A call to the Atlantic Bagel Company confirmed that there was campaigning at the shop yesterday. The woman who answered the phone told me she was working yesterday and that "there was someone here talking to people and distributing Gooch's literature." The woman did not recall seeing Gooch herself at the store. On follow up with Angelini, Toni said she'd been investigating it most of the day and that she had no idea who the person was.
When confronted with Angelini's denial and that Atlantic Bagels did not confirm Gooch's presence, the original source of the story stood by it. "They can deny it all they want. I was there and I spoke to Gooch myself. She was the woman pictured on the literature. She was with a woman with long dark hair."
The person claims to have personal contact with Frank Pallone. He said that Pallone has people tracking Gooch's and Little's campaign activity and he rattled off several locations Pallone supposedly told him that Gooch had been to and what she supposedly said about Little, Pallone and their respective families. Angelini said that Gooch was not at the places the source of the story claimed.
The source of the story has been reliable on the past. However, there are holes in his story this time. Enough so that I regret printing that angle of the CD 6 Race Getting Hotter post without having done more checking. I do not believe that the Gooch campaign is trashing Little nor do I believe that they condone such activity. I do believe that supporters of Gooch not directly involved in the day to day activities of the campaign are engaged in such trash and that those actions are detrimental to their candidate.
That the post got the reaction it did is suggests to me that this race is more competitive than anticipated on both sides. That is the story. CD 6 is the race to watch for the next few weeks.