Murphy and Guadagno Spar at First Debate of the General Election Season


At an ABC News Debate tonight at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center, gubernatorial candidates Kim Guadagno and Phil Murphy sparred on property taxes, pension plans, their visions for New Jersey, guns and Goldman Sachs.

Murphy repeatedly excoriated Guadagno for being a functionary of a failed Chris Christie Administration, while Guadagno reminded viewers of her opponent’s status as a “Goldman Sachs millionaire who pays $200,000 a year in property taxes.”

A Republican who’s down by double digits in the contest, Lieutenant Governor Guadagno made the case that a two percent cap and arbitration clause have kept property taxes down for the most part, as she warned people that her Democratic opponent has no plan for lowering property taxes.

“The people of New Jersey are taxed enough,” Guadagno said.

A former Ambassador to Germany and retired Goldman Sachs executive, Murphy said the Chris Christie-Guadagno Administration has made choices that “favor the wealthiest among us.”


“We are a state that people no longer trust,” the Democrat said. “This is an administration that has  vilified public sector employees.”

After eating a shot from Guadagno for his connection to Goldman Sachs, which makes money from gun manufacturing investments, he threw a sharp elbow, repeatedly fastening her to the sitting submerged governor.

“Where have you been? You’ve been with him [Christie] every step of the way,” said Murphy, and the LG swatted in return, “The inconvenient truth is you’re running against me, not Chris Christie.”

But Murphy used the line several times anyway, as his opponent referred to him as a Jon Corzine-Goldman Sachs guy. “Phil Murphy can’t keep his promises,” said the Republican candidate. “Anywhere from 5 to 65 billion of entitlements have been proposed. It’s simply unrealistic.”

Guadagno criticized Murphy for taking money from disgraced media mogul Harvey Weinstein.

“I didn’t ask for and I didn’t get one dime from this guy,” Murphy shot back.

“Harvey Weinstein is a predator,” the Republican said, chastising her opponent for responding only when her campaign called him out. “I want to call Phil Murphy a coward. Shame on him.”

“I literally have no idea what she’s talking about,” said Murphy.

The legalization of marijuana arose. Murphy wants to legalize the drug. Guadagno doesn’t.

“I am wholly opposed to legalizing marijuana, I do believe we can decriminalize it,” she said. “I also believe we can expand the medical marijuana program. I would not legalize it just to raise revenue.”

“We have the largest white non-white gap” in incarceration, Murphy said. “We need comprehensive criminal justice reform. That’s the reason we want to legalize marijuana.”

Patrick Murray, professor of political science and pollster with Monmouth University, tweeted his reaction to the debate. “Just a reminder,” Murray said, “the few voters watching this debate have already made up their minds. If there is no gaffe, there is no impact on the race.”

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