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On the Air: Gubernatorial Candidates Lay Out Their Wares

Phil Murphy said New Jersey is “in crisis” and Kim Guadagno said the state has to become more affordable

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A jubilant Phil Murphy mixes with the crowd at his victory celebration after winning the 2017 Democratic gubernatorial primary.

Democrat Phil Murphy and Republican Kim Guadagno laid out their differing visions for New Jersey as they pitch into the next stage of the contest to become governor, speaking on WNYC’s The Brian Lehrer Show yesterday. Along the way, they took shots at each other.

Describing New Jersey as a state “in crisis,” Murphy said, “We have to grow the economy, we have to make our economy and our society fair again.” Asked about how he could appeal to independents and moderates who might not be keen on “too much of a Democratic loyalist,” Murphy countered with, “Honestly, there’s a lot of myth-making out there that you can’t be pro-growth and be fiscally responsible on the one hand and be progressive on the other hand.”

The Democratic standard bearer referred to Lieutenant Governor Guadagno’s “seven-and-a-half years as Chris Christie’s wingman.” He batted aside her charge that, as a former Goldman Sachs executive like Governor Jon Corzine, he is “Corzine Two.”

“I grew up working poor. My dad didn’t get out of high school; my mom did,” Murphy said. “We didn’t have two nickels to rub together so the plight of the working poor or those in poverty or those struggling in the middle class — I don’t have to read that in a book … I’ve lived that.”

Guadagno touted New Jersey’s low unemployment rate of 4.1 percent, noting, “We have more people working today in New Jersey than at any time in its history.” But, she said, “New Jerseyans don’t believe that, they don’t feel better about themselves.” And the reason for that, the Republican candidate said, is “it’s too expensive to live here.”

During her years as lieutenant governor, Guadagno said she has had thousands of conversations with people in the Garden State, all of whom lamented the high cost of living here. “We have to make it more affordable,” she said. “We cannot raise taxes on the most taxed people in the country. We have to lower those taxes.”

Read the full story on WNYC News, a content partner of NJ Spotlight.

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