SCOTCH PLAINS/FANWOOD, NJ -- The political flier that reprinted TAPintoSPF's full interview with Al and Phyllis Mirabella without TAP's permission -- and encourages Democrats to vote Column A -- that landed under the doorsteps of Fanwood voters was paid for by "Victory 2019," a campaign organization to reelect Freeholders Bette Jane Kowalski, Sergio Granados, and Rebecca Williams.
Victory 2019 lists its address as 327 Trinity Road in Hillside, the home of Arthur Kobitz, who works for Union County. When contacted by TAPintoSPF on Thursday, Kobitz identified himself as "the treasurer of the organization" and said he didn't recall the campaign flier because "dozens of mailers go out." (The mailer in question was delivered to Fanwood voters on Wednesday.)
This is not the first time that Kobitz has been associated with a controversial political campaign mailing. In 2015, Plainfield Mayor Adrian Mapp called for the resignation of County Board of Elections administrator Dennis Kobitz, Arthur's brother, after an anti-Mapp mailing was sent by the "Union County's Committee." That organization also listed the same Hillside address as its base.
The Victory 2019 organization filed with the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission (ELEC) on Feb. 27, 2019, as is required by law. It supports the Column A ("Regular Democratic Organization") candidates. Established in 1973‚ ELEC monitors the campaign financing of all elections in the State of New Jersey and features a searchable database by which members of the public can monitor the financing of campaigns from Governor on down.
Freeholder Al Mirabella is not up for relection this year and was not listed as part of the Victory 2019 filing. However, he is a candidate on Column A for one of 14 Democratic Committee seats in Fanwood.
Following requests for comment, neither Mayor Mahr nor Mr. Mirabella have issued an official statement about the campaign flier controversy at the time of the writing of this story.
Each of the Borough's seven voting districts has both a male and a female representative. Mirabella, who is also the Scotch Plains Township Administrator, is running in the same district as Mayor Colleen Mahr. His wife, Phyllis, is running directly against Mayor Mahr, who is running Column B slate ("People First Democrats") to become the female Committee representative in District 6.
|Column A: Regular Democratic Org.||Column B: People First Democrats|
|District 1||Michael Marcovecchio||William A. Lee|
|(No Petition filed)||Kathy Mitchell|
|District 2||Robert Brennan||Steven Falco|
|Barbara Brennan||Patricia Walsh|
|District 3||Scott V. Brelinsky||Scott Sinclair|
|Kerry E. Brelinsky||Amy Boroff|
|District 4||Michael Campion||Matthew Glennon|
|Jennifer Ann Campion||Adele Kenny|
|District 5||Mark Brink||John Celardo|
|Anita McNamara||Erin McElroy Barker|
|District 6||Al Mirabella||Sal Fazzino|
|Phyllis Mirabella||Colleen Mahr|
|District 7||Jeff Briel||Tom Plante|
|Vanessa Hobbs||Pat Plante|