By Matt Rooney
Our state became a Sanctuary State on Thursday, Save Jerseyans.
‘Virginia is for lovers.’ New Jersey? Illegals.
The state Republican establishment’s reaction thus far has been muted. To understand the biggest reason for this deafening silence, you need to think back one year (and a couple of months) to the 2017 Murphy vs. Guadagno gubernatorial contest.
Then-candidate Phil Murphy was very open about his desire to turn New Jersey into a full-fledged ‘sanctuary’ state where local law enforcement and federal authorities would be barred from cooperating with one another to enforce immigration laws. Murphy went as far as to say he’d be ‘biased’ in favor of protecting illegal aliens when asked whether he supports N.J. authorities notifying federal officials. That quote isn’t out-of-context; Murphy had been asked by Tom Moran (of NJ.com) about a man named Jose Carranza…
Then-Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno, a former Monmouth County sheriff, fired back with a tough ad telling the story of the aforementioned Carranza, and illegal immigrant from Peru; Carranza was previously arrested on charges of aggravated assault and rape, and he was ultimately convicted of felony murder and robbery related to the infamous execution-style killing of three young college students execution style in Newark in 2007. The story made national headlines. Carranza was later acquitted of murder, sexual assault, and some lesser offenses (conspiracy to commit robbery, conspiracy to commit murder and weapons charges). An effort to defeat his felony murder conviction was nevertheless rejected by the courts. Carranza ultimately received a 155 year prison sentence for his role in the shootings (three counts of felony murder and four counts of robbery).
Murphy didn’t hedge. He didn’t qualify his statement. He never said in that interview that he might feel differently if the illegal in question was charged with a heinous crime. Click here for the transcript.
Consequently, Guadagno’s ad made a simple argument: Murphy will have the backs of guys like Carranza, not legal New Jerseyans. This argument wasn’t much of a reach since, ya know, MURPHY SAID SO.
The blow back from the Fourth Estate was nevertheless immediate, universal, biased, and harsh…
Is Guadagno trying to gain steam by ‘going Trump’?
What Guadagno’s controversial ad wants you to think, and what it got wrong
Is This New Jersey Gov. Candidate’s Ad ‘Trashy?’
Guadagno’s Out-of-Context Campaign Ad Draws Firestorm of Criticism
That’s a small sample of the headlines.
Guadagno loses. Murphy is triumphant. Flash forward one year and change. Now-Governor Murphy’s attorney general has issued a directive EXPLICITLY barring New Jersey law enforcement from helping ICE round-up the Jose Carranzas of the world. The directive also gives corrections officials the option to NOT notify ICE when illegal aliens accused of murder, rape, and other heinous crimes are released. Illegals like Carranza. AND it’s worth adding that all of this happening mere weeks after news broke that an illegal released from Middlesex County Jail — in defiance of ICE — is accused of murdering three people in Missouri.
The premise of Guadagno’s much-maligned TV spot is being validated right before our eyes.
We’ll all die of old age waiting for the Media to admit it’s error. New Jersey voters on the other hand can’t afford to persist in their willful blindness. Phil Murphy and his cronies are creating a magnet for lawlessness. We could’ve avoid this fate with Kim Guadagno, but now the only option is to begin to correct this mistake by electing legislator who will serve as a check on Murphy beginning in 2019.
Back to the silence of Republicans. They took the wrong lesson from the Carranza ad controversy. They don’t think the issue is a winner (since Guadagno lost), and they’re terrified of being accused of racism/xenophobia by the press.
What they’re missing: the election doesn’t start on Labor Day. Messaging needs to be 24/7/365. Confidence is built over time, in the trenches. If you don’t turn it on until the 11th hour? Your credibility with the people you’re trying to persuade, and convince to stand and fight with you instead of move, is 100% non-existent. Understandably so.
If Republicans WANT electoral credibility in 2019? 2020? And 2021, when Murphy is back on the ballot?
They should be protesting this morning in front of the AG’s office. New Jersey’s persuadable voters want fighters. No one is fighting for them. The only guys willing to throw punches at the moment (like Murphy and AG Gurbir Grewal) and throwing punches FOR the bad guys like Carranza and this accused murderer in Missouri.