Fireworks behind the scenes of the NJ101.5 debate this week (Opinion)
Tuesday night, New Jersey 101.5 was proud to host the primary debate between the two major candidates for the Republican nomination for governor, Jack Ciattarelli and Hirsh Singh.
The big talk around the station Wednesday morning was about a heated argument between Jack Ciattarelli’s wife, Melinda, and Hirsh Singh’s campaign manager, King Penna.
We were all jealous that we weren't there to see it, but lo and behold, someone (conveniently) took a video of it. That leads us to believe it may have been staged or set up by Penna who keeps looking at the camera.
If it was indeed a setup, it was a sleezy thing to do. He is watching the debate on one of our TV's in the hallway of the radio station, with Melinda Ciattarelli just a few feet away. He begins to trash Jack Ciattarelli in front of his wife and then goes on to question why their four adult aged children still live at home.
The audio is a bit hard to make out but it seems clear that Penna is trying to start something and some harsh words are exchanged between the two. We’re so glad Dennis wasn’t there. It looked like the kind of situation where he might have stepped in and tried to shut Penna up forcibly. See the video below (which includes profanity).
There’s no telling why Penna might have tried to pick a fight with Mrs. Ciattarelli, if he, in fact, did. Maybe he knew that it would get attention and, as is exactly what happened, get posted to YouTube to either make a name for himself or to bring attention to Ciattarelli's campaign.
After all, there are plenty of people out there who don’t even know who’s running in the primary. There are people who don’t even know there IS a primary. On the other hand, it’s possible that Penna is just a punk and enjoyed picking on the wife of his boss’ competitor.
Our opinion after watching the video is that Penna may have tried to elicit a response from Mrs. Ciattarelli that would embarrass her and therefore reflect poorly on the candidate himself. Either way, we rarely get a soap opera like this in the New Jersey 101.5 studios. What do you think happened here?
EDITOR'S NOTE: New Jersey 101.5 allowed each candidate to bring up to two additional people with them into our building for the debate. Supporters, protesters and media were not allowed to enter. The station provided each campaign with a separate office in order to prepare but we did not require them to remain in those rooms. Mrs. Ciattarelli chose to sit in our lounge in order to watch the debate on one of the screens. After the altercation, our staff invited her to finish watching the debate in a private office.
The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show hosts Dennis Malloy and Judi Franco. Any opinions expressed are Dennis & Judi's own.