Murphy, Ciattarelli go toe-to-toe in final debate before Election Day
A highly-charged final debate between Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy and Republican challenger Jack Ciattarelli was held Tuesday evening.
The two candidates met for an hourlong matchup in front of a sometimes-rowdy crowd at Rowan University.
The debate focused on several issues vital to New Jersey voters, like New Jersey Transit and property taxes.
“We are fixing NJ Transit…and we’ve don’t it without raising one time in commuter funding,” Murphy said.
“I think we need a tax system that works for everybody. Right now, that’s not the case,” said Ciattarelli.
One issue that both candidates agreed upon was abortion. Both said that they support the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision.
And if it is overturned by the conservative court, Ciattarelli said, “If it is, we will codify it in New Jersey. I support a woman’s right to choose.”
But the debate sometimes veered into personal attacks and verbal outbursts.
“We inherited a complete mess, and you were there for six years before I was,” Murphy said, referring to Ciattarelli’s time as a state assemblyman.
“That’s not New Jersey. That’s extremism. That’s Phil Murphy,” Ciattarelli said.
The debate ended with a final pitch by the two men to voters.
“New Jersey the state we love is broken,” Ciattarelli said. “You know it and I know it.”
“We cannot go backward, and we cannot afford an extreme leader,” Murphy said.
After the debate, both candidates said that the boisterous crowd made the moderators difficult to hear, and the time consumed by cheering and jeering deprived viewers of additional questions.
Early voting begins next Saturday. Election Day is on Nov. 2.