- Associated Press - Tuesday, September 19, 2017

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) - The Republican Governors Association on Tuesday entered the race to succeed term-limited Gov. Chris Christie with an ad taking aim at Democrat Phil Murphy.

The new 15-second spot shows a welcome-to-New Jersey sign as a narrator says Murphy believes taxes are not “high enough.”

Murphy is leading in polls and fundraising over GOP Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno in the Nov. 7 election.

Text in the ad cites The Associated Press as quoting Murphy saying he would raise taxes by $1.3 billion. His campaign said it calculated that taxes would go up by that amount but the candidate did not say it.

The campaign was responding to Guadagno’s camp arguing his proposals cost $75 billion. That estimate included single-payer health care, which Murphy supports but hasn’t promised.

The GOP group’s spokesman, Jon Thompson, attributed the citation to a rewritten headline on a version of the article posted online.

“Murphy’s campaign speaks for him. There’s no arguing or denying it,” he said.

Thompson said the ad is running in the New York broadcast and cable television markets but declined to comment on how much the group is spending and for how long the ad would run.

The Democratic Governors Association has registered to spend money in the race, according to New Jersey’s Election Law Enforcement Commission, but has not filed any expenditure in the race.

The group’s spokesman Jared Leopold sought to turn attention away from the Murphy campaign’s promise to raise some taxes and instead focused on Guadagno’s ties to Christie, whose approval ratings are historically low.

“It’s going to be impossible to rescue Kim Guadagno,” he said.

Four other independent and third-party candidates also are competing in the election. They have historically not gained traction in races for governor.


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