Looking to make incisions in his home county of Monmouth, Democratic gubernatorial nominee Phil Murphy attended Marlboro Day on Sunday, campaigning with Mayor Jon Hornik and trying to expand on the narrative that he has GOP guv. nominee Kim Guadagno playing defense on historically Republican turf.
In truth, both Guadagno and Murphy live in Monmouth and arguably the state’s lone true battleground legislative district (LD11) occupies the sprawling seaside area, which makes it easy for both campaigns to justify foregoing longer, traffic-choking drives for the sake of reach-out-and-touch-you backyard love.
“We walked the entire grounds,” said longtime Mayor Hornik, a Democrat. “I really like him. He is very engaging and spent a lot of time with us.”
Guadagno didn’t show.
“She has come other years,” Hornik said. “I was very surprised. Phil Murphy is taking nothing for granted. She’s got no shot up north. He is in her back yard and she’s not defending.”
He’ll have some work to do. Trump beat Clinton in Monmouth last year, 166,723 to 137,181 votes. He also edged her in Marlboro: 10,198 to 9,923. But Clinton beat Trump in the all-important 11th District by 7,000 votes.