GOP's New Jersey Senate Snafu

| Fri Mar. 28, 2008 9:49 AM EDT

The GOP is struggling to find a viable challenger to four-term Democratic Senator Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey. Republican party leadership courted millionaire Goya Foods heir Andy Unanue, a man that fringe Republican campaigns are calling "a slick New York-inhabiting nightclub-owning playboy."

When it became apparent that Unanue lives in Manhattan, and that his supposed home in New Jersey actually belongs to his parents, Unanue's campaign manager said, "Andy Unanue lives in New Jersey, he votes in New Jersey, his car is registered in New Jersey, he pays New Jersey auto insurance, and his business is in New Jersey. Andy Unanue is New Jersey."

When Unanue himself was asked for comment, he admitted, "For the past few years I've lived in New York. I'm in the process of moving back to New Jersey."

Props to Blue Jersey for spotting this. Unanue's (supposed) qualification for the Senate appears to be the fact that he was, for a short time, the COO of his parents' business. He was eventually run out by other family members and the reviews of his work were not good:

Robert Unanue, who emerged from the court battle as Goya's president, testified he "had information Andy was going to work drunk" and "wasn't projecting the right image for the company." Joseph Perez, a vice president, testified about Andy, "I've seen him come to the office drunk or smelling of alcohol."
...Joseph Perez, a vice president, testified Andy Unanue was "coming in late, leaving early, to the point I spoke to him and that I was concerned that perhaps he was ill." He rated Andy's leadership skill as "'fair to poor," adding that he could be "'arrogant and cutting."

Rest easy, Senator Lautenberg.

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