NJ’s Ciattarelli and Guadagno Spar Over Travel Expenses

Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli. Max Pizarro for Observer

One of the leading candidates in New Jersey’s Republican nominating contest for governor mounted a new line of attack Monday, calling for his primary opponent to reimburse taxpayers for the cost of travel and security on the campaign trail. Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli  took a page out of Democrats’ playbook during the presidential campaign of Governor Chris Christie Monday when he said Lieutenant Governor Kim Guadagno should draw from her campaign funds rather than tax coffers.

“Any time the Lt. Governor makes a campaign stop – and she has made plenty over the past six and a half weeks – her campaign committee should fully reimburse taxpayers for any and all expenses incurred,” Ciattarelli said.

“Incumbent politicians like the Lt. Governor, who are running for re-election or election to a higher office, should not be forcing state taxpayers to cover their travel and security costs. With all Kim’s talk about auditing how state government spends money, perhaps she could start with her own office, and let taxpayers know exactly how much they have involuntarily contributed to her campaign over the last six weeks.”

Guadagno has so far campaigned on a pledge to “audit” the state capital and cut spending and reduce New Jersey’s high property taxes. A representative with her campaign brushed off Ciattarelli’s remarks by email.

“The Assemblyman is resorting to desperate attacks because his campaign is struggling to gain support. Kim Guadagno is the only major candidate to oppose higher taxes, and she has a bold plan to audit Trenton and elect an independent attorney general,” said Ricky Diaz, Guadagno campaign spokesman.

Guadagno qualified for public two-for-one matching funds when she reached a fundraising benchmark last week, while Ciattarelli has only recently returned to making regular in-person appearances after undergoing treatment for throat cancer. Whoever wins the Republican primary will likely face Democratic former Goldman Sachs executive Phil Murphy, who is largely self-funding his campaign.

NJ’s Ciattarelli and Guadagno Spar Over Travel Expenses