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Sandro Rosell
FC Barcelona President
Sunday, October 22, 2017

Candidates Jim Johnson, Ray Lesniak, and John Wisniewski all chastised Philip D. Murphy at the debate for the Democratic primary for governor of New Jersey on Thursday, reports the New York Times.

“My Democratic Party is based on principles, not on Phil Murphy’s money,” said Mr. Lesniak.

“The insiders play the games for themselves and you’re in bed with the insiders.” said Mr. Johnson.

According to the New York Times, the debate was held in NJTV’s studios in Newark, NJ and it quickly became heated as the three candidates started throwing insults at the front runner, Mr. Murphy.

The most brought up line hurled at Mr. Murphy, was the fact that his campaigned has spent $18 million—more than 10 times the spending of his nearest opponent—is being mainly funded because of his vast personal wealth, reports the New York Times.

“What I am hearing right now is that Phil Murphy has admitted that the party has been bought and paid for,” said Mr. Johnson, who likened the situation to a referee who had decided the outcome of the match before, says the Times.

Mr. Wisniewski, a state assemblyman, called it a perfect example of “a rigged system. Mr. Murphy braced the insults for the most part, but eventually his politician grin formed into a furrowed brow, reports the Times.

The candidates, for the most part, agreed on a multitude of issues including improving New Jersey Transit’s finances, limiting the growth of charter schools and legalizing and taxing marijuana, says the Times.

However the biggest difference between the candidates, was the position of Mr. Murphy on establishing a public state bank—modeled after the one in North Dakota; an idea, Mr. Murphy says, which is backed by Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, reports the Times.

“The math that Phil has been talking about doesn’t work for New Jersey,” said Mr. Johnson, who cited his experience as undersecretary of the United States Treasury Department. “It is a bad idea and it ought to be killed.”

“Is it surprising that a banker wants to create a bank?” said Mr. Wisniewski with a smirk.

According to the Times, another criticism the candidates brought up about Mr. Murphy, was his 23-year career at Goldman Sachs. Each candidate continued to ask Mr. Murphy about his career at Sachs.

Mr. Wisniewski pointed out Mr. Murphy’s investment portfolio—which supports certain companies that promote pipelines and hydrofracking— as a disgrace to Mr. Murphy’s stance on environmental issues, said the Times. Mr. Murphy said that “there’s probably no good answer in terms of those investments,” but that he would advocate environmental causes if he were to be governor, cites the Times.

Thursday’s debate was the last time that the four candidates would share the stage in a debate before voters head to the polls on June 6. The most recent polls from Quinnipiac University, showed that Mr. Murphy was in the lead with 26 percent, Mr. Johnson with 7 percent and 52 percent undecided, reports the Times.

Mr. Murphy handled the criticism given to him and, instead of fighting back, he focused his efforts on denouncing President Trump and Governor Chris Christie.

By: Ellen Alvarez