The New Jersey gubernatorial race between Democrat Phil Murphy, a retired Goldman Sachs executive, and Republican Kim Guadagno, the state’s lieutenant governor under Chris Christie, got some attention in the June 26 issue of the New York Times.
The article, titled “Rare G.O.P. Species Runs for New Jersey Governor: A Moderate,” focused on the Guadagno campaign: “As Ms. Guadagno begins her campaign in an era of uncompromising parties and demands for ideological purity . . . she is positioning herself as an increasingly rare breed in post-2016 Republican politics: a moderate.”
As the Times also pointed out, the move might be more pragmatic than anything else. “The Quinnipiac poll . . . found her trailing the Democratic nominee by a 2-to-1 margin. Given the intense dislike of Mr. Christie and the fact that registered Democrats outnumber Republicans by about 800,000 voters, Ms. Guadagno faces a difficult political climate.”
Readers who commented online were less inclined to give Guadagno a break, particularly one identified as Francois Bronsard of Kingston. “Guadagno is hardly a moderate and she’s part of the same culture of vindictiveness and bullying that permeated Gov. Christie’s administration,” Bronsard posted.
“If you want to see how that culture could affect ordinary citizens, I recommend you read the article ‘Defending the Arts Amid a Culture of Fear’ by Dan Aubrey published in the January 15, 2014, issue of U.S. 1 Newspaper of Princeton where he described the harassment suffered after testifying against a proposal from Guadagno. It is chilling!”
In that U.S. 1 article Aubrey, now the arts editor at U.S. 1, recalled Guadagno’s treatment of him when he was associated with the State Council on the Arts, at a time when Guadagno seemed to be going out of her way to harass and intimidate the council. The picture Aubrey painted was similar to the scene in Fort Lee, where Christie’s retribution against the mayor was becoming known. As Aubrey wrote, “While the current revelations about the Christie administration waging retribution on Fort Lee may be an eye opener for some, it is something I have lived through.”
If readers of the Times are any indication, Guadagno’s track record as lieutenant governor is not likely to be overlooked during her campaign. As a reader from Hillsborough wrote: “A moderate? Never heard her say one word when Christie vetoed funding for woman’s health care year after year. Or when Christie broke promise after promise regarding pensions. Or when Christie ripped individual teachers or anyone who dared to question him (sit down, shut up). . . . Does moderate mean keeping one’s month shut in the face of a bully boss? If that is the definition of moderate, then she is a moderate.”
We in New Jersey can look forward to another intriguing political season.