NJ’s ‘off-the-cuff’ Confederate flag assemblyman wins re-election
FRANKLIN BOROUGH — One of the bright spots for Republicans on Election Day was the re-election of Parker Space to a second Assembly term despite controversies during the campaign.
"Thank you all for the support in today's election," the 24th District Assemblyman wrote on his legislative Facebook page. He and fellow Republican Harold J. Wirths defeated Democrats Kate Matteson and Gina Trish 46,257 votes to 29,939.
The owner of the 120-year-old Space Farms first posted a picture on his Facebook page of him and his wife at a concert in Bethel, New York, standing in front of a Confederate flag that had the image of singer Hank Williams Jr.
He captioned it: “Tailgating waiting for Hank. Hope no one is offended! LOL,”
Space defended the post in a statement to New Jersey 101.5 that offered an apology to those who don’t understand his humor "working class” humor.
He later called Matteson a "bitch" three times in conversation with Democratic state Senate candidate Jennifer Hamilton, which was captured on an audio recording. He also called Trish an “elitist 1 percenter.” The duo admonished Space in a statement while the Democratic Assembly Campaign Committee called for him to quit the race.
A controversy erupted late in the campaign over the New Jersey Herald's editorial endorsement of Space, who they said is popular and known for provocative "off-the-cuff" remarks . The Green Party demanded "the the removal of editorial staff responsible for the utterly inappropriate and unacceptable language published in justification of their endorsement." The activist said it was "appalling" that the newspaper considers Space "a genuine product of this region who expresses the thinking of a lot of his constituents."
Space, Page and Matteson have not yet returned messages seeking comment for this story.