Gov. Chris Christie's top deputy and a wealthy former Goldman Sachs executive immediately took aim at each other after winning their New Jersey gubernatorial primaries on Tuesday, continuing campaign attacks that have marked the first statewide primary election since President Donald Trump took office.
Republican Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno and Democrat Phil Murphy and will face off Nov. 7 in one of only two governor's races this year, along with Virginia.
The election comes as Trump administration developments swamp headlines, spurring Murphy to lash out at the Republican president and wedging Guadagno between an unpopular White House and the governor.
"Four more years of Christie-style politics won't make New Jersey the state where we draw the line against Donald Trump, but we will," Murphy said. "We are better than Donald Trump, and we are better than Chris Christie."
Murphy, a former Obama administration ambassador to Germany who poured more than $20 million into the contest, tied Guadagno to Christie during his victory speech in Newark and reiterated a promise to oppose Trump.
Guadagno, twice elected on the ticket with Christie, has gone to great lengths to try to highlight their differences. In her victory speech Tuesday, she contrasted herself with the term-limited governor without mentioning his name and slammed Murphy's Goldman Sachs career, as his primary opponents had done.
"I'm running for governor based on my values, based on my record, based on my principles," she said. "My principles are Main Street principles."
Democrats are favored in the general election, in part because of an 800,000-voter registration advantage.
Christie remained neutral during the campaign but said he voted for Guadagno, his top deputy since they were elected in 2009. He has said he would campaign if asked, but it's unclear whether his assistance would help or hurt, since about three-quarters of voters disapprove of his job performance. He congratulated Guadagno on her win and said the state "can't afford a return to the days of having Wall Street run" it.
The race to take the New Jersey governor's office back from a Republican comes as Democrats nationally weigh whether distancing themselves from Wall Street will help them counter Trump and his populist Republican allies.
Murphy contributed to the state's powerful county political machines, drawing harsh attacks from his opponents that he was trying to buy their support, while giving him the lead position on ballots across the state's 21 counties.
His opponents repeatedly brought up his time at Goldman Sachs. They compared him to members of Trump's administration who also worked there and to former Democratic Gov. Jon Corzine, another Goldman Sachs alumnus who, like Murphy, donated to local Democratic parties.
Guadagno defeated Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli, Nutley Commissioner Steve Rogers, Ocean County landscape business owner and actor Joseph "Rudy" Rullo and Atlantic County engineer Hirsh Singh.
Murphy faced challenges from former Teaneck firefighter Bill Brennan, one-time Clinton administration Treasury official Jim Johnson, state Sen. Ray Lesniak, Assemblyman John Wisniewski and Tenafly Councilman Mark Zinna.
In Virginia, the only other state electing a governor this year, most of the attention has focused on the close Democratic primary between Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam and former congressman Tom Perriello. Former Republican National Committee Chairman Ed Gillespie is favored to win the GOP primary next week over Trump's former state campaign chairman.
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