Democrat Andy Kim and Republican Tom MacArthur are in a tight race for Congress in New Jersey’s 3rd District. Recent polls show Andy Kim is slightly ahead of Tom MacArthur, a two-time incumbent. But a controversy has erupted when the New Jersey Republican State Committee mailed out postcards attacking Korean-American Andy Lee. So let’s take a look at the postcard.
There are two issues at play with this postcard. First is the picture of the fish market and the second is the “oriental style” writing for “REAL FISHY”. Why use that font, many are wondering. Additionally, MacArthur has been running ads signaling Andy is “not one of us”.
Elizabeth Gilbert, the executive director of the Democratic State Committee told the New Jersey Globe, “Republicans can deny it all they want, but any reasonable person can see why showing an Asian-American candidate next to a pile of raw fish and dog-whistle font would raise some questions. MacArthur and his allies have already tried to smear Andy Kim as ‘not one of us’ and it’s starting to look like their whole campaign is based on making oblique references to his heritage, not talking about the issues that 3rd district voters care about like access to affordable health care and property tax relief.”
But Harrison Neely, a spokesperson for the Republican State Committee told the New Jersey Globe, MacArthur can’t be racist because he adopted two Korean kids, “This is an ugly attempt to change a bad news cycle for Andy Kim where he was given two Pinocchios from the Washington Post for lying about his resume again. False cries of racism are a sign that the Kim campaign is coming unhinged down the stretch. Let’s not forget that Tom MacArthur has two Korean children.”
In the scheme of things, this isn’t too racist but it’s definitely trying to imply that Andy shouldn’t be trusted because he is Asian. It’s not as overtly racist as when Jerry Shi and Falguni Patel ran for school board candidates and fliers went out saying, “The Chinese and Indians are taking over our town! Chinese school! Indian school! Cricket fields! Enough is Enough!!”
The most annoying part is when MacArthur’s spokesperson said that he couldn’t be racist because he adopted two Korean kids. Now that’s just nonsense. Racist people adopt kids from different racial backgrounds. Using your kids to deflect any allegations of racism is just gross.