Tuesday marks the first debate between candidates vying to be New Jersey's next governor. Does anyone care? How many people will even vote?

I had an interesting conversation with Morris County GOP fundraiser and organizer, Rob Zwigard. He's the likely next chairmen of the Morris County Republican Party. We discussed the fact that there are dozens of local races across Morris and other counties that will likely impact turnout. If the turnout is above average in Republican heavy Morris, Ocean and Monmouth counties it's a very good sign for the Republican nominee, Kim Guadagno. If the turnout is low in strong Democrat areas, especially, Newark, Irvington, Paterson and Hudson county, that spells trouble for Democratic  nominee Phil Murphy. In a state that has an overwhelming number of Democrats compared to Republicans both need to happen for Kim to win. There's another side to the story though.

When will Republicans get it through their heads that the city voters are looking for leadership? Cities across New Jersey have suffered for decades under poor leadership and political corruption. Democratic Mayor Ras Baraka is trying things that area starting to work.  Actions that more closely resemble former Republican Mayor of NYC Rudy Giuliani that Baraka's predecessor Cory Booker.  His "quality of life policing" has been compared to Rudy's "Broken Windows."

Mayor Baraka still holds on to his left-wing bona fides by aligning with Democrats on immigration policy, specifically sanctuary cities. Beyond the rhetoric of potentially sparring with the federal government and the state over immigration status of accused criminals there's the real results of his own war on local crime. He's implementing ideas pushed by Republicans and scorned by left wing racially motivated groups like Antifa and Black Lives Matter. These groups have done more to promote and encourage violence than actually help people in the city get out from under the crushing weight of poverty and injustice. It shows that when you've got a good idea and the proper implementation, it doesn't matter who got the ball rolling. I've seen first hand how people in Newark are reacting to the actions of the Mayor and Public Safety Director. And I can tell you when it comes to small business owners and moms just trying to get their kids off to school, it's all positive.

This is a wake up call for the Republicans in New Jersey. The GOP needs to move past relying on low turnout in the cities. They need to start looking for ways to help cities grow and prosper. That starts with low crime, access to a good education and jobs.

The plan from the Democrats on the state level is to tax and spend our way to prosperity.  It hasn't worked before and it won't work going forward. We need to cut taxes, empower law enforcement and fix education funding so that taxpayers see relief and the proper amount of funding goes to the people who need it most.

Eliminate the egregious unused sick and vacation day payouts. Eliminate unnecessary and overlapping school administrators. Put an end to districts going around the law by throwing bonuses at bureaucrats to avoid the salary caps. Cut spending in every corner of the state budget that isn't directly helping people protect their families, get and education and obtain and hold a job.

Fire all top administrators at NJ Transit and hire competent people from successful transit organizations in other states. Or promote the competent middle mangers who have been stifled by bureaucrats at the top motivated by self preservation and greed.

Put an end to the proposed borrowing for light rail construction.  Renegotiate health care contracts for public employees. That might start by reducing the number of mandated coverage in plans and giving retirees and current employees more choice and flexibility.

Our teachers in particular have had to bear the burden of rising costs combined with salary increase caps and increased contributions. All of that has resulted in net pay losses for many teachers in the Garden State. That has to change. And of course, separate the cops and fire fighters from the state run pension and let the first responders run it more effectively as they have show they can do. In Wisconsin, cops and firefighters were separated from the pension & benefits law changes and the state was still able to go from billions in a budget deficit to a surplus. I've said this many times, you don't balance the budget on the backs of cops and firefighters.

So the solutions are there. We've seen new ideas work in other states and in our own cities. Which candidate is gonna embrace the ideas that will put New Jersey back on the right track to prosperity and success? Watch tonight.

I'll break it down for you.

Bill Spadea is on the air weekdays from 6 to 10 a.m., talkin’ Jersey, taking your calls at 1-800-283-1015. Tweet him @NJ1015 or @BillSpadea.

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