Wisniewski says Tea Partiers are targeting Menendez because of the ‘sound of his last name.’

Even if the Committee to Recall Robert Menendez succeeds in its court case and wins the right to start the recall process against New Jersey’s junior senator, they will face the nearly insurmountable task of collecting 1.3 million valid petition signatures. 

Nevertheless, Assemblyman John Wisniewski (D-Sayreville), the Democratic state chairman, weighed in today, suggesting that the group targeted Menendez because he is Hispanic.

“The attempt to recall Senator Menendez is an affront to the voters of New Jersey and has no standing in law,” said Wisniewski in a written statement.  “One day these folks are trying to disprove human evolution, the next day they are challenging the  constitutionality of the Constitution.  These are radical people who chose Menendez off of a list of Democrats because of the sound of his last name.”

Although state law provides for the recall of statewide elected officials, the U.S. Constitution only allows for the removal of a sitting senator or congressman through expulsion.

A spokeswoman for the Tea Party groups behind the recall effort yesterday told the Associated Press that they were not targeting U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-Cliffside Park) because he is 86 and they did not expect him to seek another term in 2014.

“The TEA Partiers stand for fiscal responsibility and limited government. The repeated allegations from radical left-wingers like Wisniewski that the TEA Party is a ‘racist’ movement is a disgrace.  Wisniewski is obviously nervous, and for good reason,” said attorney Daniel Silberstein, who represents the recall committee, in a written response to Wisniewksi’s statement.  “In 1993, 1.3 million New Jersey citizens (more than 76%) voted to amend the NJ Constitution to provide for a right to  recall our U.S. Senators.  In 2006, with full knowledge of that amendment to the NJ Constitution, Mr. Menendez ran for the Senate.  Only 1.2 million voters voted for Mr. Menendez.  An affront to the voters?  It sure is.  Its an affront to the 1.3 million citizens who voted in favor of their right to recall, who the Chairman now suggests are all racists.” 

"He’s obviously working very, very hard at it. I mean he’s traveling all over the country as chairman of the [Republican Governors Association] and I think at this point he has as good a chance or better than anybody else. His name is household word all across the country, and I think he would make a great president."
—former U.S. Rep. Jim Saxton (R-3), on Gov. Chris Christie