By David Cruz
As the state’s first lieutenant governor, Kim Guadagno has defined the position, although she’s not above poking a little fun at some of its largely ceremonial duties. But Guadagno is also New Jersey’s secretary of state, where her portfolio includes promoting and highlighting New Jersey business as she was doing today in North Brunswick.
Tonight, Guadagno faces Democrat Milly Silva in the lieutenant governor’s debate. Where Guadagno brought a law enforcement background to the job — she was Monmouth County sheriff and a former assistant U.S. attorney — Silva is a union organizer, and, she says, proud of it.
At tonight’s debate, the candidates are expected to talk about the top of the ticket more than themselves, but Gov. Chris Christie is leading in the polls by around 30 points, and if he goes on to win, it’s assumed he will eventually run for president, which will likely necessitate him resigning in a couple of years. That would make Guadagno governor, which makes her record especially relevant, says Sen. Loretta Weinberg, who faced Guadagno four years ago as the Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor.
“This lieutenant governor is in charge of job creation. That’s where the governor put her,” said Weinberg. “Well, we still have among the highest unemployment rate in the nation and certainly in our region so I think there might be, should be, questions about that.”
Weinberg remembers her face-off against Guadagno four years ago at the state’s first lieutenant governor’s debate as spirited but certainly not a career highlight.
“I remember one of the wonderful panelists asking the very in depth question, ‘Do you think Chris Christie is fat?’ she relayed.
That question seems to have been asked and answered many times in the four years since, but Christie’s record is expected to be fair game.
The possibility of a Gov. Guadagno in two years could add some interest to tonight’s lieutenant governor debate, but the fact is that it’s scheduled for a Friday night in a week that has already seen two debates, so attracting eyeballs could prove to be a challenge.