Former New Jersey Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno, who was elected twice on a ticket with Gov. Chris Christie, has left the Republican Party and is now an unaffiliated voter, the New Jersey Globe has confirmed.
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The two-term statewide officeholder filed paperwork to change her party affiliation on Monday.
Guadagno has bolted her party to protest the leadership of the Monmouth County Republican chairman, Shaun Golden.
The 2017 Republican nominee for governor against Democrat Phil Murphy has had strained relationships with Monmouth GOP leaders over the last year, something that led to her ouster in April as the CEO of a Jersey shore food bank she ran for two years.
Guadagno has been sharply critical of Golden since his decision to dump one of her closest political allies, Assemblywoman Serena DiMaso (R-Holmdel), from the Monmouth GOP organization line. Guadagno campaigned actively for DiMaso, who lost the Republican primary to Vicki Flynn, the Holmdel school board president.
Guadagno faced heavy criticism last month for failing to apply for COVID-19 relief funding administered by Monmouth County under the CARES Act. That followed Guadagno’s own letter chastising the Republican-controlled Board of Commissioners for not sending stimulus funding to her non-profit.
Strained relationships between Guadagno and county elected officials has left some board members concerned that the former Lt. Governor might cause them to lose future county funding, especially after Monmouth County obtains additional funding under President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion Covid relief package. She was also never able to forge solid relationships with her own board and top executives of the organization.
Guadagno had a tense relationship with Christie during her two terms as Lt. Governor. Her friends say she is openly hostile toward the candidacy of Jack Ciattarelli, a former Republican assemblyman who challenged her in the 2017 Republican gubernatorial primary.
She did not immediately return a telephone call seeking comment.
As an unaffiliated voter, Guadagno is eligible to vote in either party’s primary election in June 2022.