Next Month’s New Jersey Gubernatorial Race Heats Up

New Jersey Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno on a tour of Coast Guard Training Center Cape in 2014. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Chief Warrant Officer John Edwards.)

The New Jersey governor race is continuing to heat up as current governor Chris Christie is approaching the final months of his two-term limit. Christie, a Republican, has been the governor of New Jersey since January of 2010 and is the first governor of the state since the 1980s to serve two full terms.

The election will take place on November 7 and is only one of two states, the other being Virginia, to have a governor’s election as soon as November.

Many believe this will be an early, but insightful, predictor as to how well the parties will fair in the 2018 midterm elections and how exactly the country is responding to the Donald Trump presidency thus far.

The primary two candidates are Democrat Phil Murphy and Republican Kim Guadagno. Murphy was the US ambassador to Germany during the President Obama administration and Guadagno is Governor Christie’s current Lieutenant Governor and Secretary of State of New Jersey.

In New Jersey, which has a 2:1 ratio of registered Democrats versus registered Republicans a large majority of polls have shown Murphy having a 20-point lead over Guadagno.

However, a NBC 4 New York/Marist Poll, also showed a considerable amount of New Jerseyans are not pleased with either of the two major party candidates. In the most recent report, Murphy has out fundraised Guadagno three to one, but there are still weeks to go.

Murphy’s background stems from his former executive position at Goldman Sachs. He worked on several different continents throughout his 23 years at the banking firm including a few years in Frankfurt, Germany where, years later, became a US Ambassador.

Following his retirement from Goldman Sachs, Murphy served as the National Finance Chair of the Democratic National Committee from 2006 to 2009 and has claimed he raised $300 million dollars for the party during his reign.

Unlike her competitor, Guadagno has a bit longer history in politics and the law.

She first served as Sheriff of Monmouth County in 2008. She then began working under Governor Christie in 2010 when she began simultaneously serving as Secretary of State of New Jersey and as the state’s lieutenant governor. In her current positions, Guadagno oversees the New Jersey Partnership for Action to increase the state’s well-being and economic growth.

Both candidates have focused mostly on policies to make sure New Jersey has a robust and well-function economy. Murphy has proposed establishing a state bank owned by the taxpayers. These banks would provide tax money to community banks to distribute loans to small businesses and students. All profits would go back to the state budget.

Guadagno has promised that her proposals would lower taxes for the middle-class families of New Jersey. The plan, named the “property tax circuit breaker,” would cut back on the amount of money homeowners pay on the school portion of their property-tax bill to 5 percent of their respective household income. Homeowners would obtain a credit of up to $3,000 for any amount over the 5 percent threshold.

Besides their separate economic plans, the candidates have their differences that they have vocalized to the voters.

Murphy has tried very hard to associate Guadagno with Governor Christie. According to a recent Rutgers poll, Christie’s approval rating is at 15 to 16 percent and Murphy believes that electing Guadagno would just be a continuation of the Christie administration.

On the contrary, Guadagno has tried to sway voters that Murphy will do nothing but raise taxes and fight hard to legalize marijuana, something she is opposed to.

Murphy’s major endorsements include both New Jersey senators, the now-embattled Senator Bob Menendez and Senator Cory Booker as well as all 21 county party organizations. Guadagno has received large endorsement from Governor Christie, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and Jeb Bush.

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