Her “Main Street, Not Wall Street” tour bus pulled into Hawthorne on time, but polls put Republican candidate for governor Kim Guadagno 14 to 16 points behind. The lieutenant governor did not not mince words with voters.
“I need your help!” she said.
Guadagno stayed on message, promising to lower property taxes and refusing to let New Jersey become a sanctuary state. That resonated with the mayor of Hawthorne, Richard Goldberg.
“I think that’s probably one of the worst ideas I’ve ever heard. In Hawthorne, we’re very patriotic Americans. We stand for the national anthem, we respect the military, we respect the flag and anything that would be a danger to our safety as Americans, we’re against it,” said Goldberg.
“Well, I think that’s the number one thing a governor should be responsible for doing and that is making sure people stay safe. It’s kind of an obvious thing, you would think,” said Guadagno.
That, a slap at opponent Phil Murphy. He counter-punched demanding that Guadagno reveal the results of the New Jersey attorney general’s investigation into a controversial hire she made as Monmouth County sheriff in 2008. Guadagno brought retired county investigator Michael Donovan on board as a chief. That should’ve suspended his pension payments, but Guadagno listed him on payroll as an officer, according to WYNYC. That let Donovan simultaneously collect both his $87,000 salary and $85,000 pension.
When asked about the investigation Guadagno responded, “Well, I think the answer was quite clear. There was no investigation. You can go ask the question any way you want, but the answer was, there was nothing to see, there was nothing to hear, it was silly season …”
The Attorney General’s Office had no comment. Guadagno continued her trip through suburban communities meeting with seniors, supporting local candidates and soliciting votes from a shrinking pool of undecideds. The most recent poll shows 7 percent of New Jersey voters haven’t picked a candidate for governor. After Guadagno canvassed their shops, a few small business owners spoke out.
Frank Scola, who is the owner of Bagel Express, said he hasn’t made up his mind yet. “I want to hear see and hear what everybody has to say,” he said.
Nancy Kriney, manager at Isaura Bakery, is also still making up her mind, but said of Guadagano, “But I do like her, a lot.”
Guadagno will be on the bus and on the road for the next three and a half days, trying to fire up the base and trying to convince undecided voters like Frank and Nancy to vote Republican.