A day before their first debate, the gubernatorial campaigns of Lieutenant Governor Kim Guadagno and Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli (R-16) grappled with newfound aggression, the LG’s steady attacks on Democrat Phil Murphy momentarily interrupted as she turned her attentions on her Republican opponent.
Team Ciattarelli exulted as it bore witness to the first attack ads of the season posted by rival Guadagno, as campaign personnel figured they touched a nerve.
After watching her lead slip from 25 points down to 11 points in last week’s Quinnipiac Poll, the Guadagno Campaign in two Facebook ads swatted at Ciattarelli’s record as a Raritan Borough Councilman and Somerset County Freeholder. Ciattarelli called one of the attacks misleading and the other completely inaccurate, and called on Guadagno to remove them.
“After the latest Quinnipiac poll showed Lt. Governor Guadagno’s lead being more than cut in half, I knew attacks would come,” said Ciattarelli. “I am happy to let voters compare my record in Raritan Borough and Somerset County against Kim’s in Monmouth Beach and as Lt. Governor. The only way the Lt. Governor could make the comparison work in her favor would be to lie and mislead people and, unfortunately, that’s exactly what she is doing.”
The Guadagno Campaign quickly shot back.
“It seems that Jack Ciattarelli likes to throw mud but can’t take the heat when his record is challenged,” said Guadagno Campaign Communications Director Ricky Diaz. “It is an indisputable fact that he supported higher taxes and spending as a local official, and higher gas, income and sales taxes as an assemblyman. And though he tries to bob and weave around this, it is also indisputable that Jack endorsed Chris Christie for governor twice and for president as well.”
But Ciattarelli insisted that Guadagno’s attack on his Freeholder record is both misleading and inaccurate. During his time on the Board, freeholders cut county spending by $4.4 million and property taxes grew by sixth-tenths of one percent annually. “I will put our triple ‘A’ credit rating in Somerset County up against the Lt. Governor’s 11 credit downgrades any day of the week.”
Ciattarelli then pointed to what he cited as Guadagno’s wildly inaccurate claim that he voted to “increase spending by 25%” as a Raritan Borough Councilman, when the fact is that local spending grew by less than three-quarters of one percent annually during his time on Council.
“Maybe it’s time for the Lt. Governor to conduct an audit of the made-up facts and figures in her attack ads,” cracked Ciattarelli. “The Lt. Governor claims that she would not raise taxes ‘for any reason’ but voted to increase property taxes over 10% and spending nearly 11% in the only two budgets she ever voted on in Monmouth Beach. Moreover, voters already know that after 7+ years with Kim as Lt. Governor, we continue to pay the highest property taxes in the country. Bottom line: The Lt. Governor has zero credibility on this issue. None.”
Ciattarelli said that after ducking him for 110 days (www.silentkim.com), he looks forward to finally debating the Lt. Governor tomorrow night at Stockton University.
“I am eager for a substantive debate on the major economic and fiscal crises facing the state,” said Ciattarelli. “I have a detailed and comprehensive plan to solve the problems facing New Jersey, and look forward to contrasting my vision with Kim’s lack of a plan and less than enviable record running the state over the last 7+ years.”