An advertisement from Republican candidate Kim Guadagno has become a controversial flashpoint in the gubernatorial campaign, as she accuses her Democratic opponent Phil Murphy as “having the back” of a convicted murderer who happens to be an undocumented immigrant. Latinos, legislators, and union leaders loudly denounced the latest ad from New Jersey Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno’s campaign as dishonest, race baiting, and fear mongering.
The ad, titledbegins with the story of an undocumented immigrant who had raped a child and shot four young adults in Newark. Then it cuts to a clip from a town hall Murphy did at Rutgers University last month that was carried on Facebook. A narrator says, “When asked about deporting criminal illegals, Phil Murphy said,” and then it shows Murphy tweaking his signature campaign line and saying, “My bias is going to be having their back.”
That takes the actual exchange between Murphy and Star-Ledger Editorial Page Editor Tom Moran out of context. Moran had asked for Murphy’s feelings about current state policy to notify immigration authorities when an undocumented person is accused of a felony or drunk driving, and Murphy’s answer to that question was, “I want to be honest to everyone. When I have the answer, I will give it. This is the first time I’ve ever been asked it.” He then went on to say that he thinks “the field has been so tilted against the Dreamers, against immigrants, my bias is going to be having their back.”