Guadagno, Murphy hold campaign events on eve of debate

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EDISON -

Republican gubernatorial candidate Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno and Democratic candidate Phil Murphy both held events Monday on the eve of the first gubernatorial debate.

Guadagno was open to talk about the election at her event, while Murphy chose to stay on topic.

Guadagno criticized Murphy for his proposed $75 billion in spending programs, something she says can’t be done without a large tax increase. 

She also accused Murphy of getting ready to add new fees and tolls for New Jersey’s drivers. She says that she intends to ask him about this during Tuesday’s debate.

“Ride the toll roads. Make an appearance at an MVC. Stop at a food bank. Live in the world that the rest of us live in,” Guadagno said of Murphy. “Because you want to represent the rest of us you need to know how the rest of us live.”

Murphy’s campaign said that it “greatly welcomed” a report last month from former Gov. Jim Florio’s think tank, which calls for raising fees, adding tolls, and privatizing the New Jersey Turnpike. Murphy’s spending proposals include free county college and expanded pre-K. 

Murphy has been leading the polls in the race, with Guadagno struggling to get out of Gov. Chris Christie’s shadow. It is something the Murphy campaign has capitalized on, including a commercial referencing Christie’s Fourth of July beach excursion during the government shutdown.

Murphy refused to answer off-topic questions at his campaign stop in Trenton Monday, where he was endorsed by the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. He says that gun laws are one of the topics that he and Guadagno disagree about.

“There are a few areas where it’s black and white. Either you’ve got the middle class's back or you're hollowing them out,” Murphy says. “Women’s health, Planned Parenthood, would be another black and white.”

The first gubernatorial debate starts at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark.

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