The mayoral race in Perth Amboy has become controversial after a political consultant for challenger Billy Delgado sent Mayor Wilda Diaz e-mails calling her stupid. Delgado was criticized for not firing the consultant but he told NJ Today Managing Editor Mike Schneider that Diaz released the personal e-mails as a distraction because she doesn’t have a positive record to run on.
Delgado said he doesn’t condone James Devine’s actions of sending the personal e-mails, but believes Diaz is using them to divert attention away from her failures. Delgado said her four years in office “have been a disaster” for Perth Amboy, citing five tax increases in four years, increased debt and more crime.
Diaz said she lowered Perth Amboy’s debt by more than $50 million, but Delgado said that’s not true. “When she came in, it was $181 million. Now it’s $220 million. You do the math,” he said. “I try to work it out and it just doesn’t make sense.”
Delgado’s critics have said he’s a Republican running as a Democrat. “I am a Democrat. I am running a Democratic ticket,” he said. “When Joe Vas was mayor and you know how that story ended. It went to the Republican Party. I stayed there for several years but then in my heart, I’ve always been a Democrat and I feel welcome. I feel great back in my party.”
Delgado admits that he voted in the Republican primary in 2003 and 2005. “When I was a Republican, I was a Republican. Now I am a Democrat unlike the mayor who says she’s right to life, she endorsed the governor’s many policies and that she’s running the Obama ticket so that is something that should be questioned,” he said.
Speaker Sheila Oliver and Sen. Loretta Weinberg have questioned Delgado’s campaign in light of the e-mail incident but Delgado said he has nothing against women. “The honorable speaker of the House and the honorable elected leaders that went there would be embarrassed right now after they learn what really happened and the type of person that I am and how we value women in my house,” he said. “My mother is a feminist, a unionist, a person who worked in the state for many, many years and have fought for the cause of women.”
While Delgado hasn’t gotten much support from Democrats, he said he plans to hold a press conference next week with “very powerful Democrat leaders” showing their support.
There has been talk that Assemblyman John Wisniewski would like to openly support Delgado but didn’t feel comfortable doing so. When asked if he would be one of the Democrats at his press conference, Delgado said, “Stay tuned.”