By JOHN T. WARD
Red Bank Republicans on Wednesday accused Democratic councilman and party chairman Ed Zipprich of making a not-so-veiled and “bigoted” reference to oral sex about GOP vice presidential nominee Mike Pence last month.
During the October 4 vice presidential debate between Pence and Democratic nominee Tim Kaine, Zipprich asked on Twitter, “did #mikepence just say he spends time on his knees every day?”
Zipprich’s tweet, which Twitter indicated was posted at 10:30 p.m. on the night of the vice presidential debate. (Click to enlarge)
The tweet appeared to have been posted shortly after Pence said, “for me, my faith informs my life. I try and spend a little time on my knees every day,” according to a Washington Post transcript.
In a statement issued Wednesday, Republican council candidate Kellie O’Bosky Colwell said the tweet was “implying Vice Presidential candidate Mike Pence meant he gets on his knees daily to perform oral sex rather than to pray.” She called for Zipprich’s immediate resignation.
“While I welcome discourse and disagreement on policy, under no circumstance can we remain silent while Red Bank Democrats make such atrocious comments,” O’Bosky Colwell said. “Zipprich’s implied comparison of prayer to performing oral sex is beyond sinful. As faithful Catholics, my running mate Brian Hanlon and I are and proud to say that, like Governor Pence, we pray daily.”
GOP Chairman Mike Clancy later told redbankgreen that the comment was bigoted toward “specifically Christians, but anyone of faith.”
The statement noted Zipprich’s role as a pro-Hillary Clinton delegate at the Democrat’s national convention in July.
O’Bosky Colwell called on the Democrats in the local race, Kathy Horgan and Erik Yngstrom, “and their local, state, and national parties” to denounce Zipprich’s “implication” and call for his resignation.
“Should Ms. Horgan and Mr. Yngstrom not take such action immediately, they will show yet again they are unequivocally unfit for public office,” she said.
Zipprich denied that the tweet was meant to be lewd. From his statement to redbankgreen:
“I was making reference to Governor Pence’s commentary on his faith. Clearly his running mate Donald Trump has attacked so many people’s faiths and has bragged in the past about not following any type of faith, now all of a sudden at this debate, has his running mate talking about faith. I tagged LGBT organizations on both sides of the aisle so they could see the hypocrisy of Pence’s running mate.
“There was no sexual innuendo in my tweet, as I quoted Governor Pence,” he added, “and for anyone who read it that way, I apologize – it was not the intention. I was calling Trump/Pence out on their utter hypocrisy.”
He said the local GOP was “grasping for straws” by bringing up the issue less than a week before an election.
In a statement, Horgan and Yngstrom said they “take [Zipprich] at his word that he was referring to the hypocrisy of the Trump/Pence campaign.
“There is five days left until election day and it is very clear that the local Republicans are trying to distract from their failed record of increasing taxes as soon as they took the majority this past January.”
Political newcomers O’Bosky Colwell and running mate Brian Hanlon face Horgan, a three-term incumbent; Yngstrom, also a newcomer; and incumbent independent Councilwoman Cindy Burnhamin the five-way race for two three-year seats on the council.