A candidate for mayor of New Jersey's second-largest city has released a new campaign ad that shows him swimming the width of the Hudson River.
Jersey City Councilman Steve Fulop (D) released the commercial Tuesday. In it, he can be seen swimming across the mile-wide river from Jersey City to Lower Manhattan and back, while talking about his life in a voiceover. Fulop's campaign said that the video was shot on Feb. 18, when the water temperature was just 33 degrees.
"Some things were not meant to be easy," Fulop says in the ad.
Fulop is challenging Jersey City Mayor Jerramiah Healy (D) in the May nonpartisan election. During the ad, Fulop, 35, talks about his life, including his immigrant parents and his service in the Marines. Once a hedge fund specialist, Fulop has been a city councilman in Jersey City since 2005. He has long played up his life story of taking a leave from his job at Goldman Sachs to enlist in the Marine Corps after witnessing the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. He was among the first troops in Iraq in 2003.
Fulop's campaign says that he did not use a body double for the ad and that the spot was inspired by his completion of the 2012 World Ironman Championship, which included a 2-and-a-half-mile swim in the Hudson River.
The ad was released the same day that Healy's campaign announced an endorsement from Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) in the mayor's bid for a third term. Healy, a founding member of Mayors Against Illegal Guns, also has been endorsed by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, in large part based on Healy's work on gun control and crime.
Fulop also released a commercial on Tuesday discussing his position on gun control.
UPDATE: 6:30 p.m. -- Healy campaign spokesman Joshua Henne slammed Fulop's swimming ad as self-centered in a statement released Tuesday evening.
"Just like everything else Steve Fulop does, this commercial is all about Steve Fulop and not about the people he wants to represent,” Henne said. “Then again, perhaps Fulop put on a wet suit to dive down and look for the missing emails showing him steering Board of Ed contracts to his political contributors -- the very definition of play-to-play.”
Henne's statement referenced an ongoing dispute regarding questions of whether Fulop emailed his allies on the Jersey City Board of Education and urged them to grant contracts to one of his donors. A state judge ruled last week that the Board of Education has to explain a series of redactions in emails between Fulop and board members released in response to a records request from a Healy ally. Fulop has denied the allegation.