Distancing herself a bit from Christie, Guadagno officially enters N.J. governor’s race

Supporters wave signs as Republican New Jersey Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno announces her candidacy for governor

Supporters wave signs as Republican New Jersey Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno announces her candidacy for governor

The woman who’s been New Jersey’s lieutenant governor for seven years, has kicked off her campaign to replace her boss in 2018.

In her first campaign speech, Kim Guadagno told supporters Tuesday in Keansburg that she wants to be governor because she believes the state can do better.

“You want your governor to be committed to making New Jersey a place for families, who strives to do better, who answers the phone, who is there in a crisis, who walks in your shoes, who cares fearlessly and without exception about you, and only you,” she said.

If she gets the Republican nomination and is elected in November, Guadagno said, she’d cut taxes, eliminate wasteful spending, and fund schools in an equitable way.

“We need a governor who will make tough choices to bring economic stability to our state. We need a governor who will fight the Democrats’ knee-jerk reaction to raise your taxes.”

Analysts say voter dissatisfaction with Christie could negatively affect Guadagno, but believe she can be an effective campaigner.

Without mentioning him by name, she criticized Christie’s proposed $300 million Statehouse renovation plan.

“We simply do not have the money to turn the Statehouse into the Palace of Versailles,” she said.

In another contrast to Christie, Guadagno said she did not use the State Police helicopter for official travels around the state.

She expects her campaign will be hard and challenging, but told supporters she’s all in.

Guadagno faces a field of several other declared and potential Republican candidates in the June 6 primary.

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