Governor Phil Murphy was endorsed for re-election by the Republican mayor of an Ocean County town that Donald Trump won with 62 percent of the vote over President Joe Biden, while his GOP opponent picked up the support of a top member of the Trump administration.
Republican Seaside Heights Mayor Anthony E. Vaz endorsed the Democratic incumbent during a fundraiser for Murphy organized by businessmen from the amusement industry.
The Seaside Heights event was attended by Edward McGlynn, who served as chief of staff to Republican Gov. Thomas Kean from 1985 to 1990, was also at the event.
McGlynn was there in his capacity as a lobbyist for the New Jersey Amusement Association and general counsel to Jenkinson’s Boardwalk, the dominant business entity in Point Pleasant Beach.
“I admire his leadership. He is sincere. I believe he is someone of high integrity,” said Vaz. “Governor Murphy has been very good for our community.”
“Murphy is good to the taxpayers of Seaside Heights. He has been extremely good to us," Vaz said. “We developed a friendship. Our philosophies are much different. I’m a conservative. But I’ve worked with him, and I know he’s sincere.”
“Never in my wildest dreams did I expect to support this governor,” said Vaz, a self-described conservative. “But he has become a solid supporter of Seaside Heights.”
The endorsement was initially reported by David Wildstein, the GOP dirty trickster who masterminded the shutdown of the George Washington Bridge to punish a mayor who refused to support Republican Governor Chris Christie’s re-election campaign.
Vaz described himself as a ‘good Republican’ and a ‘big Christie supporter’ who voted against Murphy in 2017 but the GOP mayor said he developed a friendship with the Democrat, who he wants to win a second term.
Vaz announced his support for Murphy on the same day Republican Jack Ciattarelli received the endorsement of Nikki Haley, the former South Carolina governor and U.S. ambassador to the United Nations — and a potential 2024 presidential candidate.
“The people of New Jersey deserve better,” said Haley. “They’re sick of sky high taxes, reckless spending, closed businesses and rising crime.”
“I’m proud to endorse Jack Ciattarelli to fix what Phil Murphy has broken,” said Haley. “A Main Street business owner, Jack understands the importance of lowering taxes, getting New Jersey working again and standing with law enforcement officers to keep communities safe.”
Haley, a top diplomat in former President Donald Trump’s administration, is scheduled to campaign with Ciattarelli this weekend in Monmouth County.
New Jersey and Virginia are the only two states with elections for governor this year.