GOP candidate at Shore loses party's backing after crude video emerges
“Let me tell you right now: You should [have sex with] me,” the candidate or state Assemby, Brian McDowell, tells a woman in a bar.
A Republican candidate running for the state Assembly in a competitive South Jersey district is losing his party's support after making sexually aggressive remarks captured on video.
"Let me tell you right now: You should [have sex with] me," the candidate, Brian McDowell, tells a woman in a bar, using a crude expression for the act. "It would be really good. Listen, you never know."
McDowell, a North Wildwood real estate broker who grew up in Philadelphia, is running to represent the First Legislative District, which spans Cape May and parts of Atlantic and Cumberland Counties. His remarks were first reported by Politico. He said he did not know who shot the video.
McDowell was a contestant on the 2005 season of The Apprentice, the NBC show that starred now-President Trump. McDowell said he coordinated Trump's presidential campaign in Cape May.
In an interview Thursday, McDowell, 41, an unmarried father of three, said he would not drop out of the race. He said he had "had a couple drinks in" him and made the comment in jest last month to a friend of 10 years.
In fact, McDowell said, the incident demonstrated why voters should send him to Trenton: He's "confident."
"Honestly, how many guys want to say that, but don't?" he said. "I spoke what was on my mind. Unfortunately, I don't have a filter."
"I'm not running to be the pope," he continued. "I'm running to make New Jersey affordable. I hope the voters can get past it."
Marcus Karavan, chairman of the Cape May County GOP, wrote in an open letter dated April 6 that "issues and information" had surfaced related to McDowell "that were unknown" to the county committee before it endorsed him.
"...This information places this candidate in a light that is inconsistent with several of the core principles of the Cape GOP," Karavan wrote. "Accordingly, we cannot in good conscience support this candidate going forward."
Republican James Sauro has the party's endorsement. Another Republican, Robert G. Campbell, is running under the slogan "A New Direction, Vote Change."
Democrats Bob Andrzejczak and R. Bruce Land are the Assembly incumbents in the district and are up for reelection this year.
The First District is among the few competitive districts in New Jersey. In the 2015 Assembly elections, the race there drew $3.5 million in spending, about half of that from outside groups, according to the Election Law Enforcement Commission.
McDowell said the fact that the county GOP would pull its support — his name will no longer be bracketed on the ballot with the party slogan — showed the "system is rigged."
He said he had been forthright with party leaders about his past, including a domestic violence incident in the early 2000s. McDowell said he tried to surprise his ex-girlfriend at 8 a.m. one day by proposing to her on a Philadelphia bus on her way to work.
"I thought she wanted a Jerry Maguire moment," he said, referring to the movie.
She filed a restraining order, McDowell said, but it was dismissed and the couple later had two children together.
McDowell has been arrested on two occasions, according to the interview and court records: once for trespassing at the 2008 World Series in Tampa, Fla., which the Phillies won, and once in North Wildwood.
He said he had a ticket to the baseball game and that prosecutors in Florida declined to press charges. The New Jersey incident, he said, involved "injecting myself in a conversation I shouldn't have."
Court records show he was charged with simple assault, which was downgraded. He said the case was dismissed.
McDowell said voters should look past his mistakes because he has bold ideas to lower taxes and spur job growth.
He wants to build a tunnel from Cape May to Delaware, to be paid for by the federal government. Modeling Trump, McDowell said he would advocate cutting two regulations for each new one implemented in Trenton.
"You need to run Trenton like a business," he said, warning that the state could soon go bankrupt. He added, "I know about bankruptcy. I went through it."
McDowell filed for bankruptcy in 2009 after several real estate ventures flopped amid the market crash, according to the interview and court records. His debts were discharged in January 2010, and McDowell started selling real estate again.
His name popped up in the news before last year's presidential election, when he told Business Insider that he had "potentially damaging" audio of Trump from their time on The Apprentice. But McDowell declined to publish the tape, saying he wanted Trump to win.