New Jersey’s GOP candidate for governor picks running mate

July 27, 2017
Carlos Rendo, right, mayor of Woodcliff Lake, N.J., looks on as New Jersey's Republican candidate for governor Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno, left, speaks during a news conference announcing Rendo as Guadagno's running mate, Thursday, July 27, 2017, in West New York, N.J. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

WEST NEW YORK, N.J. (AP) — The state’s Republican candidate for governor on Thursday selected as her running mate a Cuban-born mayor who supported U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio’s presidential bid.

Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno announced Woodcliff Lake Mayor Carlos Rendo as her lieutenant governor candidate during an announcement in West New York. She said that, if they are elected, Rendo would lead an audit of state government that Guadagno believes will find $1.5 billion to pay for property tax relief, one of her key platforms.

Rendo, an attorney, was 2 years old when his family moved to the United States in 1966. He co-chaired Rubio’s presidential team in New Jersey in 2016, when Rubio, of Florida, challenged Gov. Chris Christie and others for the GOP nomination, eventually won by Donald Trump.

Guadagno was asked by reporters whether she selected Rendo for his connection to Rubio donors.

“I picked Carlos Rendo because I think he’s qualified to be the next governor of the state of New Jersey,” Guadagno replied.

Rendo said that he shares Guadagno’s vision for the state and will work to lower taxes. They used the news conference as a platform to attack Democratic challenger Phil Murphy, highlighting his previous work for Goldman Sachs. They tied Murphy to the state’s last Democratic governor, former Goldman Sachs executive Jon Corzine.

“Corzine nearly bankrupted New Jersey,” Rendo said. “And Phil Murphy will finish that job.”

Murphy picked Assemblywoman Sheila Oliver as his running mate on Wednesday. Oliver was the first black woman to serve as Assembly speaker.

Oliver said Thursday that Guadagno’s choice doesn’t “paper over the failures of Chris Christie and Kim Guadagno.”

“It’s time for new leadership that throws away the Christie-Guadagno blueprint and draws a new vision of growth and fairness for our state,” she said in a statement.

Guadagno, who is the first to serve in the new position after running on a ticket with Christie twice, is looking to succeed the governor, who can’t seek a third term.

The lieutenant governor oversees the state department, including elections, and serves as governor when the sitting governor is out of the state or leaves office before the term ends.

Christie said running mates “don’t matter.”

“What you want to do in picking a running mate is pick someone who you think will help you to govern, if you win, and to do no harm politically,” Christie said. “They do nothing to help you, all they can do is hurt you, politically.”

Green Party candidate the Rev. Seth Kaper-Dale this week chose media commentator Lisa Durden as his running mate.

Durden is a former Essex County community college adjunct professor who was fired after officials at the school said she made racially insensitive comments on Fox News. College officials said they received complaints about Durden’s interview with host Tucker Carlson.

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