The major party candidates in the New Jersey governor’s race are making their final pitches to voters before Tuesday’s election to pick the successor to Gov. Chris Christie.
For weeks, Democrat Phil Murphy has focused on big name endorsements like former President Barack Obama, former President Bill Clinton and New Jersey rocker Jon Bon Jovi. This weekend it was International Brotherhood of Teamsters President James Hoffa, who says Murphy’s opponent is another Chris Christie.
“We need a new man, new thinking, someone that is for the average person in this state and that is our man Phil Murphy,” Hoffa said at a rally in Woodbridge.
Republican Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno has been touring the state by bus, greeting voters in diners and hosting small events at VFW halls. This weekend, former Republican governors Tom Kean and Christie Whitman made a pitch on Guadagno’s behalf.
“What I’ve seen from the momentum is that Kim is going to win,” Whitman said at an event in Mt. Holly. “I really believe looking at the outside people Murphy has been bringing in and the amount of money. If I were sitting on a twenty-point lead, I wouldn’t feel this kind of a need.”
Whitman says she also was trailing badly in 1993, but ended up defeating incumbent Democrat Jim Florio.
Both candidates were talking taxes at weekend campaign stops. Guadagno insisted Murphy’s proposals, like fully funding the pension and public education systems in New Jersey are unrealistic.
“This campaign in about paying higher taxes,” Guadagno said. “He’s promised to raise taxes on the most taxed people in New Jersey. That’s unacceptable to any New Jerseyan and I don’t care if you’re a republican or a democrat, a big name or a little name.”
Murphy said closing tax loopholes could help pay for his plans.
“This is about tax fairness. You’re a big corporation and you’ve had open loopholes. We’re not George Washington here. Many other states have closed these loopholes,” he said.
Murphy attacked Guadagno’s plan to limit property taxes for those that pay more than 5 percent of their income on school taxes. He says she had eight years as lieutenant governor to fix the problem.
Guadagno continued to criticize Murphy for saying in one of the debates that he would turn New Jersey into a “sanctuary state.”
“Phil Murphy either didn’t understand when he said he wanted New Jersey to be a sanctuary state and that disqualifies him to be Governor. Or he did understand his talking point when he said he wanted New Jersey to be a sanctuary state and that disqualifies him to be governor. People understand that making New Jersey a sanctuary state makes New Jersey less safe,” she said.
U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone, a Democrat representing mostly shore counties, defended Murphy’s policy, saying being a “sanctuary state” would mean opposing President Trump’s immigration policies.
“We here in New Jersey have to keep pointing out that the pathway to citizenship for the people who are here who are undocumented and who meet those criteria is the way to go. Not to have them detained and deported. The dreamers are very important to our economy as well,” he said.