Critics accuse NJ mayor of campaigning door-to-door amid coronavirus pandemic: report

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The Mayor of a New Jersey city is accused of campaigning door-to-door in a surgical mask and suit, amid the coronavirus pandemic, according to a report on Sunday.

Photos on Saturday allegedly captured Linden Mayor, Derek Armstead, out talking to local residents with 6th Ward council candidate Joao Goncalves, who was seen holding a clipboard.

“He is out ringing doorbells with his 6th Ward candidate... Are you kidding me?” Councilman John Francis Roman told NJ.com.

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Roman, a Democrat, who is running against Goncalves, said he had “a dozen neighbors calling me freaking out” about them going door-to-door.

In response, Armstead told the website on Sunday he was just talking with friends of Goncalves -- who lives on the street.

“Everyone wants to make a big deal out of this," he added.

Armstead said they had a meeting at Goncalves's house and stopped to chat with a friend of his on the way back to his car. He told NJ.com they had clipboards and campaign supplies because they were continuing the meeting when they got to his home.

“This is obviously coming from the opposing side,” Goncalves said, according to the website. “We were in the wrong place at the wrong time, and they’re using this against me.”

Women wait in line to receive food assistance at Oasis in Paterson, N.J., on April 23. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

Women wait in line to receive food assistance at Oasis in Paterson, N.J., on April 23. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

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Goncalves added that neighbors approached Armstead because they were star-struck.

A resident spoke to NJ.com and said her ex-husband, who lives on the street, was happy to speak to the Armstead. She said he didn't acknowledge that Armstead was campaigning, while another person, said the mayor "was harassing everybody."

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy recommended against campaigning door-to-door in a press conference on April 7.

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On Friday, Armstead wrote on Facebook that we must stand behind front line workers by doing what is required of us, "Practice Social Distancing and Staying Home."