Republican gubernatorial candidate Kim Guadagno will appear alongside Republican National Committee Co-Chair Bob Paduchik at a rally on Monday as she attempts to amp up her fundraising in the race against wealthy and well-supported Democrat Phil Murphy.
While Paduchik is hardly a household name, his appearance with Guadagno signals that the RNC may be coming around to her candidacy. Reports last week claimed the Guadagno was having a hard time securing national support both from the RNC and the Republican Governor’s Association due to her lack of support for President Donald Trump as he pursued election last year. Early forecasts predicting an noncompetitive race in New Jersey in November also have Republicans wary, reports say.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is a Republican but pundits predict the state will shift to blue in November due to wide-spread discontent with the Republican Party in the state. Christie, according to polls from Monmouth and Quinnipiac, has an approval rating of 15 percent, the lowest of any governor in the country. So far in his campaign, Murphy has made every effort to tie Guadagno to Christie’s record, often calling out the “Christie-Guadagno administration” for credit downgrades or infrastructure project delays that occurred during Christie’s time in office.
Fundraising has favored Murphy to this point. Of the $2.4 million that has been disbursed by the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission for November’s election, $1.8 million of it has gone to Murphy. According to ELEC, Guadagno has qualified for slightly over $708 million in matching funds. Before he was appointed as ambassador to Germany under President Barack Obama, Murphy was finance chairman for the Democratic National Committee, something that also gives him nationwide fundraising ties.
Earlier this week, Guadagno traveled to the RGA conference in Colorado. Reports say she made remarks praising Christie despite the growing chasm between the two. While Christie is the former chairman of the RGA, Guadagno has so far not reached out to the governor for support as she looks to replace him in the State House.
Monday’s rally will be held at the Days Inn in Tom’s River from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. According to an invitation to the event sent out by Guadagno’s campaign, Paduchik’s appearance at the rally is solely a speaking role. He will not be asking for donations.
The Wall Street Journal reports that Paduchik will also appear at a Guadagno fundraiser in Ocean County on Monday. At that event, tickets for a briefing and photo-op will cost $4,300 per person.