Republicans Assembly candidates in the 25th district attacked Democratic candidate Lisa Bhimani over a non-answer she gave when asked whether she’d like Gov. Phil Murphy to campaign for her, but Murphy is already set to campaign in the district.
“On the heels of Darcy Draeger’s statement that Phil Murphy is ‘probably going to be a one-term governor’, it appears her running mate Lisa Bhimani also wants nothing to do with him,” GOP campaign Manager Rob Costello said. “While we can’t blame our opponents — his tax-and-spend policies are crippling New Jersey, after all — unfortunately their refusal to take a position on his budget that raises taxes and spending by billions has left them in a total no-mans-land.”
The governor will attend a canvass kickoff in Dover on Saturday. First Lady Tammy Murphy will attend a canvass launch in Mendham on Sunday.
Bhimani and Draeger face State Sen. Anthony Bucco and Denville Councilman Brian Bergen in their bid to win the district’s two Republican-held seats.
“It’s really rich to hear our opponents talk about non-comments when this entire campaign they’ve been running from the truth about their own fake candidacy,” said Dan Fleiss, the Democrats’ campaign manager. “I think voters are really tired of these ridiculous games, and that is why, when Bucco tried to say on Monday night that we’re the only ones concerned about him running for this office he’s admitted he won’t hold, they laughed out loud.”
Bucco remained on the ballot after taking his late father’s seat in the State Senate.
If he wins re-election to the Assembly, he will decline the seat, which will be filled by the district’s Republican County Committee people.
“I think that finally hearing an explanation from him would be refreshing,” Fleiss said. “It would be something that isn’t a mealy-mouthed defense of this ludicrous position to run for an office that he doesn’t plan to accept.”
It’s unclear how much Murphy’s visit will benefit the Democratic candidates. According to Democratic polling obtained by the New Jersey Globe, he has a 32%-41% approval rating in the district.
But, Dover is a solidly-blue town, and an appearance there could boost Democratic turnout. In a year where turnout is expected to be somewhere around 25%, every little bit helps.
“Perhaps if Murphy offered to campaign with her on Park Avenue in Manhattan, where she pretended to live in order to receive a tax break, she’d welcome him with open arms,” Costello said. “But when it comes to the 25th district, Bhimani and Draeger know that attaching themselves to his far-left, out-of-touch agenda is a surefire way to sink their flailing campaign.”