NJ Politician Wears Confederate Flag Patch

Freeholder John Carman Atlantic County, NJ

A New Jersey politician has received criticism from lawmakers on Wednesday after wearing a Confederate flag jacket patch.

Republican Atlantic County Freeholder John Carman was seen in a photograph wearing a motorcycle jacket with the New Jersey-shaped patch, The Press of Atlantic City reported. Half of the patch is filled by an American flag, while a Confederate flag covers the lower half.

Egg Harbor Township Democrat Ashley Bennett, who is running against Carman in the November freeholder election, said she was disturbed by Carman's patch.

"As a woman of color, I had a deep, visceral reaction to the images I saw," Bennett said in a statement. "I honestly could not even believe it. The Confederate flag is a symbol of hatred, intolerance and bigotry. The fact that Freeholder Carman believes this is appropriate conduct for an elected official in New Jersey in the year 2017 is outrageous," Bennet added.

The patch doesn't have racial overtones but represents the political divide between northern and southern New Jersey, according to Carman.

"Given what has happened recently, I should have considered taking it off, but it's been on there so long I honestly didn't think about it," he said.

This isn't Carman's first misstep this year. The freeholder found himself in trouble in January when he asked on Facebook if the women's march in Washington would be "over in time for them to cook dinner."

"As a Republican, I'm embarrassed," said Atlantic County Republican Committee Chairman Keith Davis, when commenting on the patch. "As an American, I'm outraged. And right now I'm just too angry to comment any further."