Republican Assembly candidates are jumping on Gov. Phil Murphy’s support of drivers licenses for illegal immigrants as an issue in a competitive race in the 16th district.
On Monday, Murphy called providing drivers licenses of illegal immigrants a ‘no-brainier,’ injecting a controversial issue that could impact his own party’s chances to increase seats in the State Assembly 56 days before the election.
“Only in Phil Murphy’s New Jersey could you require legal citizens to provide six points of identification to get a driver license, and then turn around and give one to someone who cannot produce a single piece of identification that says they are even an American citizen?” said Mark Caliguire, who is challenging Democratic Assemblymen Andrew Zwicker (D-South Brunswick) and Roy Freiman (D-Hillsborough).
Now Caliguire and running mate Christine Madrid want Zwicker and Freiman to “take a stand” on the issue.
“We are calling on them to oppose it publicly and pledge to never vote for it in the State Assembly,” Caliguire said.
The 16th is one of two districts in the state with a Republican Senator and two Democratic assemblymen.
The Somerset-based district was Republican enough to survive the Watergate scandal when Republicans dropped to ten Senate seats and fourteen seats in the Assembly, but the GOP base was heavily diluted during 2011 redistricting when solid Republican towns were replaced by Princeton and South Brunswick.
In the 2017 race for governor, Phil Murphy carried the 16th by a margin of 6.24% over Kim Guadagno, winning by 4,006 votes.
Caliguire and Madrid are both former Montgomery mayors. Caliguire lost a bid for Assembly in 2017 and was defeated in his run for re-election to the Somerset County Board of Freeholders in 2018.