Vince Sera

Republicans are calling on Comcast to take down an advertisement they argue is slanderous to one of their assembly candidates. 

State Republicans have asked Comcast Corp. to stop running an advertisement that supports a local Democrat, arguing the ad falsely claims its Assembly candidate raised taxes when he was a Brigantine councilman.

The ad, bought by the General Majority political action committee, says Sera is a “political insider” who raised property taxes for the people of Brigantine. It supports a Democratic candidate, Buena Vista Township Committeeman John Armato, one of Sera’s opponents in the race.

During Sera’s first year on the council in 2015, the municipal property tax levy rose $40,000 from the previous year. In the two years following, Brigantine’s property tax levy decreased, according to public records.

General Majority PAC lawyer Ezra Reese responded by sending a letter to Comcast saying Sera is a public figure and nothing in the ad is inaccurate.

Therefore, the ad should stay on the air, the letter says.

“Councilman Sera and the NJGOP may wish that the General Majority PAC would include his entire tax record as a city councilman,” Reese said in the letter. “That is not the obligation of his political opponents.”

Sera disagreed.

“Their ad is a lie, plain and simple,” he wrote in a statement.

General Majority has raised and spent millions supporting local Democratic candidates and has been tied to Camden County Democratic power-broker George Norcross, according to previous press reports.

Douglas Steinhardt, an attorney representing the New Jersey Republican State Committee, sent a cease-and-desist letter to Comcast demanding it stop running the ad.

“Without attribution or qualification, and without basis in law or fact, the General Majority PAC’s advertisement is misleading at best and intentionally false at worst,” Steinhardt wrote in the letter. “Overall, the municipal tax levy went down some $900,000 during Mr. Sera’s tenure, and the General Majority PAC’s failure to address that has slandered and libeled his record.”

The general election is Nov. 7.

Contact: 609-272-7260 Twitter @ACPressDeRosier

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