Chris Christie and Steve Lonegan are both Republicans but on policy there are some stark differences.
During the hour-long debate, the two candidates proudly highlighted those contrasts. Lonegan favors a 2.9% flat tax in lieu of the state income tax and he wants to do away with rebates. Christie says rebates would remain under his stewardship, and he criticizes Lonegan’s flat tax for what he says will be an actual tax increase for those who can least afford it.
On state spending, they both want to cut. Christie would begin each budget season at zero and build from there – meaning no automatic increases for every department. Lonegan would more or less eliminate or pare down every single government department, merging some and dissolving others.
Although Christie had targeted Lonegan in recent days with two youtube videos…including one that was quite unflattering…
during the debate, Christie seemed to look past Lonegan criticizing Governor Corzine and including his name with ( Former Governor Jim ) McGreevey at every turn. In one great line about Corzine’s desire to institute early education for all New Jersey children Christie called the Governor’s favorite word “universal” arguing that the Guv wants “all of you to pay for it.”
But Lonegan went right after Christie, and his zingers included one just after Christie defended his record as a Morris County Freeholder.
“I am so surprised you weren’t re-elected to a second term if your record was so good,” Lonegan sniped.
Excellent debate overall that really gave some insights into the differences between these two candidates.