GOP gubernatorial hopeful Guadagno taking the bus to take her message to N.J. voters

New Jersey Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno, the Republican candidate for governor in Tuesday's election, sets off on her bus tour Thursday. (Phil Gregory/WHYY)

New Jersey Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno, the Republican candidate for governor in Tuesday's election, sets off on her bus tour Thursday. (Phil Gregory/WHYY)

With just five days before the election, the GOP candidate for New Jersey governor was on the road Thursday, taking her message to the people.

On a bus bound for 50 stops throughout the state, Kim Guadagno said the tour is allowing her to talk directly to voters about two priorities — lowering taxes and keeping New Jersey from becoming a sanctuary state for undocumented immigrants.

“People are busy, they’re living their lives. And we’re trying to draw attention to the fact that there is a clear choice on Tuesday. That clear choice is higher taxes or lower taxes,” she said. “I’ve been working very hard to get the message out for lower taxes and a safer New Jersey.”

Democrat Phil Murphy has advocated what he calls responsible policies for preventing gun violence to make the state safer. He also wants to establish New Jersey as a “sanctuary” state to shield unauthorized immigrants from federal agents unless they have a criminal warrant.

Difference on minimum wage

But even before the next governor is elected, a coalition of business groups in New Jersey is mobilizing to oppose any big boost in the state’s minimum wage.

A 60-second ad from the Protect Jersey Jobs coalition features a business owner who said that to stay competitive, he can’t raise prices.

“If some Trenton politicians have their way and pass these mandates, I’m concerned I would have to cut employees hours or their jobs,” he said.

Gov. Chris Christie vetoed legislation last year that would have raised New Jersey’s minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2021.

Murphy supports phasing in a $15 minimum wage to ensure full-time workers don’t live in poverty, while Guadagno opposes the idea, saying it could hurt the people it’s trying to help by eliminating some service-sector jobs.

The state’s minimum wage rate of $8.44 an hour will rise to $8.60 in January.

Recent polls show Murphy has a double-digit lead over Guadagno. But internal polling indicates that gap is closing, said Guadagno, who has served for two terms as Christie’s lieutenant governor.

She said she’s confident she can win on Tuesday.

“Very confident. People understand we have the momentum behind us. You’ve seen it already. Some of the Democrats have already jumped ship on some of Phil Murphy’s more extreme left wing proposals like sanctuary state,” she said. “And we’re seeing the same thing in our internal polling.”

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