PATERSON, NJ (WCBS 880) – Some political rivals are a world apart on the issues, but these two are physically 10 feet apart in real life.
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“I think she’s a good person,” said Republican William Connolly about next door neighbor Democrat Shavonda Sumter in Paterson.
It’s not everyday you hear a political candidate say that about an opponent.
These two are literally on opposite sides of a fence, and they’re both running for State Assembly in the 35th District.
“People should run on issues, and not personalities, and I don’t believe in throwing mud,” he told WCBS 880’s Sean Adams. “Don’t be afraid to run against neighbors as long as it’s issues and not personalities, as long as you’re congenial.”
They’ve lived next to each other for thirteen years. Both say the other is a good neighbor.
“Always have been cordial,” said Sumter.
But there was a little tension after Connolly criticized dual city-school district workers, including Sumter’s husband.
“No hard feelings on our part because we’ve cleared every turn. It’s gone through a full service investigation. That’s behind us,” said Sumter. “At the end of the day, we can still talk.”
She says the next time it snows, her husband will be out there shovelling Connolly’s walk, like he’s always done.
Sumter adds that this is the beauty of America. You can have different views and still be good neighbors.
“We’re competitors, but we’re not at war,” said Connolly.