Kim Guadagno is the likely Republican candidate for governor of New Jersey in 2017.
On June 6th, the Republican and the Democratic primaries are being held in New Jersey, and on the Republican side, there are five candidates: Kim Guadagno, the current lieutenant governor and secretary of state; Jack Ciattarelli, a state assemblyman; Steven Rogers, Nutley commissioner of public affairs; Joseph Rudy Rullo, a businessman; and Hirsh Singh, a businessman and engineer. Based on all of the polling that has been conducted over the past few months, Guadagno seems to have the race locked up.
Although this is a state election, President Donald Trump will, of course, have some sort of an impact on every election that takes place in 2017. So what has been Kim Guadagno’s position on Donald Trump? Is she fully on board with the president’s agenda, or has she been a Trump skeptic? Here’s what you need to know.
1. She Criticized Donald Trump For the ‘Access Hollywood’ Tape
In October 2016, a tape was released on which Donald Trump could be heard talking about grabbing women by the genitals. This caused a number of high profile Republicans to criticize their party’s nominee for president.
One of those Republicans was Kim Guadagno, who said that Trump’s comments were disgraceful and that there is no excuse for what he said.
“No apology can excuse away Mr. Trump’s reprehensible comments degrading women,” she tweeted. “We’re raising my 3 boys to be better than that.”
This tweet was specifically responding to a reporter who tweeted at Guadagno, “Hey @KimGuadagnoNJ … as highest-ranking woman in NJ govt, what do you think about the Trump comments caught on video?”
2. In October, She Said She Would Not Vote for Trump
When Kim Guadagno criticized Donald Trump for his Access Hollywood comments, she still did not explicitly say whether she would be voting for him on November 8th.
NJ.com subsequently reached out to Guadagno to ask this question, and she said that she would not vote for either of the major nominees. She wasn’t sure if she would vote for Gary Johnson or just not vote for president at all.
“I can’t support Hillary Clinton, and I won’t vote for Donald Trump,” Guadagno said.
In making this declaration, Guadagno was breaking from Governor Chris Christie, a Trump ally who had previously said that any Republican who is not supporting Donald Trump is effectively supporting Hillary Clinton.
“Every Republican who is not working for Trump is working for Clinton,” Christie said. “It’s chicken or fish, man. It’s one or the other.”
3. She Recorded a Robocall in November Encouraging New Jerseyans to Vote Republican
Right before the November election, Kim Guadagno recorded a robocall urging New Jerseyans to get out and vote.
Although Guadagno did not mention Trump by name, the call certainly makes it sound like she is urging the listener to vote Trump, even though she had said she wouldn’t vote for him herself.
“We have great Republican candidates running this year so please join me in voting for them from the top of the ticket to the bottom,” Guadagno said on the call, according to NJ.com
4. In January, She Said She Will Work With Trump as Governor
Kim Guadagno has not talked about Donald Trump very much since he became president of the United States.
In January, when Kim Guadagno delivered a speech launching her campaign for governor, she made no mention of Donald Trump at all. A campaign aide told the USA Today that voters shouldn’t read into this.
Guadagno spokesperson Ricky Diaz also said, “I’ll get right to the point. Donald Trump will be inaugurated the 45th President of the United States on Jan. 20 and, as governor, Kim intends to work with him in any way it benefits the people of New Jersey.’’
5. She Criticized Her Opponent for Comparing Trump to Hitler
In the 2017 gubernatorial general election, it looks like Kim Guadagno will likely be facing off against Phil Murphy.
During his campaign, Murphy has been positioning himself as the anti-Trump candidate, dedicating an entire TV ad to saying that he will stand up to the president as governor.
“The fight back starts here, starts now, and starts with us,” Murphy says in the ad, referring to the fight back against Trump. “I’m Phil Murphy. We are better than this. As governor, I will defend New Jersey and stand up to President Trump every time he attacks the vulnerable or defies our Constitution.”
As he shifts gears to the general election, Phil Murphy will likely be making the argument that Kim Guadagno is not nearly tough enough on President Trump, something we already saw a hint of a few months ago. Back in February, Guadagno criticized Murphy for comparing the rise of Donald Trump to the rise of Hitler.
“I’m a modest student of Germany history,” Murphy had said in a town hall. “And I know what was being said about somebody else in the 1920’s. And you could unfortunately drop in names from today into those observations from the 1920’s, and the moves that have been made early on only aid and abet that argument.”
Guadagno subsequently said on Facebook, “Phil Murphy’s comparison of the President of the United States to Nazi Germany and Adolf Hitler is repulsive and inexcusable. His stunning lack of judgement and sensitivity is insulting to those whose families suffered, died or fought during World War II. It diminishes the slaughter of six million Jews and he should apologize to the people of New Jersey immediately.”
Phil Murphy did not apologize; instead, his campaign criticized Guadagno for being silent on Donald Trump.
“It’s not surprising that Kim Guadagno would stay silent when Donald Trump appointed alt-right leaders like Steve Bannon to high posts in his administration, and when he responded to repeated questions about the rise of anti-Semitism by talking about his electoral college victory,” a Murphy campaign spokesman told NJ.com. “After all, she has stayed silent for the last eight years as she and Chris Christie worked to dismantle protections for New Jersey families while presiding over rising property taxes and the weakest recovery in our region.”