SNL alumnus Joe Piscopo will not enter NJ governor race, endorses Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno

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Joe Piscopo has endorsed Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno for governor. Joe Piscopo has endorsed Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno for governor.
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“Saturday Night Live” alumnus Joe Piscopo will not enter the New Jersey governor race despite rumors that he would run as an Independent.

The comedian made the official announcement Wednesday morning during a live broadcast of his radio show, “The Joe Piscopo Show,” at the Salem Business Breakfast at Bergen Community College in Paramus.

Piscopo instead gave his support to Republican candidate Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno, announcing his endorsement as Guadagno appeared on stage with him at the breakfast.

Piscopo had been rumored to be considering entering the race as an Independent ever since he ruled out running as a Republican in March.

“We had the fundraisers, the campaign managers. As an Independent, do I rip it up? Or do I do what’s right for the state of New Jersey,” Piscopo said.

Guadagno’s closest Republican contender is Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli. He says that a new Quinnipiac poll show him gaining a lead on the lieutenant governor, with 12 percent to her 23 percent.

“A lieutenant governor who says Republicans can’t win the Legislature just accepted the endorsement of a lifelong Democrat who said Republicans can’t win the governor’s race. Guadagno and Piscopo – perfect together I guess,” Ciattarelli said.

Gov. Chris Christie previously accused Piscopo of pretending to consider a run for governor to boost ratings on his television show. Piscopo recently signed a new contract for the show, which he would have had to give up - according to FCC rules - if he ran.

“He never had any intention of running for governor, as a Democrat, as a Republican, as an Independent, as a Martian,” Christie said.

Guadagno didn't rule out another political spot for Piscopo down the line if she were to win.

“Whoever’s with me early on, I’m going to be with at the end,” she said. “We’ll leave it at that.”

Not since the 19th century has New Jersey elected anyone other than a top-party candidate.

A Quinnipiac poll taken before Piscopo’s announcement showed Democratic frontrunner Phil Murphy defeating Guadagno 50 to 25 percent.

The primary is June 6.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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