Assemblyman Anthony M. Bucco (R-Boonton) and running mate Brian Bergen are trying to tie their Democratic opponents to Gov. Phil Murphy following an announcement that the governor will headline a Morris County Democratic fundraiser in October.
“At long last, Lisa Bhimani and Darcy Draeger reveal their true allegiance. While they hid on the budget that raises spending and guts millions from our schools,” said Bucco/Bergen campaign manager Rob Costello. “Phil Murphy would not be coming here if they didn’t support his 20+ tax hikes and other job-killing policies.”
The statement by the Bucco and Bergen campaign is misleading. The fundraiser Murphy is attending is sponsored by the county Democratic organization and not Democratic Assembly candidates Lisa Bhimani and Darcy Draeger.
Last year, Bucco sponsored a Morris County Republican Committee fundraiser that featured Fox News personality Greg Gutfeld held at the Trump National Golf Club. Bucco has received no contributions directly from that event.
The New Jersey Globe reported this week that Murphy’s appearance comes two days short of 36 years since Joe Biden, then a 31-year-old first-year U.S. Senator, was the speaker at an October 4, 1973 Morris County Democratic fundraiser in Mountain Lakes.
“Bhimani and Draeger are true-blue liberal Murphy Democrats, through and through,” Costello said in a very 1980s-style press release. “They’d be nothing more than rubber stamps for his tax-and-spend agenda that’s causing people and businesses to flee this state in droves.”
“(The) GOP is fundamentally and consistently misreading (Governor Murphy’s)approval ratings,” Micah Rasmussen, the director of the Rebovich Institute of New Jersey Politics at Rider University, said on Twitter. “They may not have another winning strategy, but his numbers do not indicate that running against him will be effective.
The 25th still leans GOP, but it’s become increasingly more competitive: there are 8,132 more Republicans than Democrats. When the district was drawn in 2011, the Republican edge was 15,935.
Bergen, a Denville councilman and retired Army helicopter pilot, is seeking the open seat of retiring Assemblyman Michael Patrick Carroll (R-Morris Township).
This story was updated at 11:01 AM to include comment from Rasmussen.