Murphy Launches First TV Ad for General Election

Phil Murphy Kevin B. Sanders for Observer

Phil Murphy links Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno to Gov. Chris Christie in his first television advertisement of the general election cycle.

The campaign for Murphy, the Democratic nominee for governor, went on the air Tuesday with a 30-second spot that attacks the Christie administration over school funding cuts and corporate tax breaks. The ad warns that Guadagno, the Republican nominee for governor, would bring “four more years of the same old playbook.” The video then describes Murphy as someone who “learned how to grow and create jobs” and doesn’t “owe the insiders anything.”

“The Christie playbook failed New Jersey,” Murphy says in the ad. “Now Kim Guadagno wants another try.”

The state regularly underfunded its school funding formula by about $1 billion under Christie, and Murphy’s ad claims that had the effect of “driving up property taxes” in New Jersey. While that may be the case in some towns,  a shortage in state aid does not automatically result in higher property tax bills. “Murphy’s first TV ad shows he’s from another planet,” Guadagno campaign spokesman Ricky Diaz said.

The targeted ad campaign will run statewide on cable TV, video on-demand and online, according to a Murphy campaign official, who declined to say how much was spent.

Murphy is ahead of Guadagno by 19 points among New Jersey likely voters, according to a Suffolk University/USA Today Network poll released Monday. That same poll found Christie’s deep unpopularity harming Guadagno’s prospects. When asked the first phrase that comes to mind when hearing Guadagno’s name, the top response was “Chris Christie,” who has just a 16 percent approval rating.

Guadagno’s campaign and national groups recently launched their own TV ads. Guadagno put up two TV spots two weeks ago, and the Republican Governors Association and Democratic Governors Association both went on the air with ads last week.

The RGA added a new ad Tuesday that’s airing in the New York City market on both broadcast and cable, according to RGA spokesman Jon Thompson. He declined to say how much was spent on the ad buy.

The 15-second spot attacks Murphy for wanting to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour, but says “he didn’t pay it himself.” The ad doesn’t go into details, but it could be referring to the Murphy campaign paying canvassers $12.50 an hour.

Murphy Launches First TV Ad for General Election