Gov. Chris Christie said he thinks people are open to supporting Phil Murphy for governor because they’re tired of hearing the governor say ‘no’ – but he said electing the Democrat would have negative consequences for New Jersey’s economy.

On New Jersey 101.5’s ‘Ask the Governor’ Thursday, Christie said “past is prologue” and recalled how voters replaced Republican Christie Whitman with Democrat Jim McGreevey 16 years ago.

“This reminds me of 2001. Successful two-term Republican governor, kept taxes down, kept spending down. People get tired of hearing no. They want to hear yes,” Christie said.

“They elected Jim McGreevey. Government exploded in its size, its cost. Taxes went up, and we had a decade of Jim McGreevey, Dick Codey and Jon Corzine raising taxes, increasing spending, and we had zero net private-sector jobs,” Christie said.

New Jersey’s economy added 456,200 private-sector jobs between January 1994 and January 2002, Whitman’s two terms. (The final year of that second term was completed by Gov. Donald DiFrancesco, after Whitman left to run the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.)

The economy lost a net 185,200 private-sector jobs between January 2002, the month McGreevey took office, and January 2010, when Corzine departed. And since January 2010, when Christie took office, it has added 302,700.

Christie’s calculation, however, discounts the role of the national economy in driving state job growth. Whitman was governor in the 1990s, when the nation added 23.5 million jobs under President Bill Clinton. The Great Recession at the end of Corzine’s term wiped out jobs that had been added.

When Christie took office in 2010, all 50 states and Washington, D.C., had registered a net loss of private-sector jobs over the previous year. Now, the nation has now added private-sector jobs in 83 consecutive months.

“This is coming back to a theater near you, if Phil Murphy wins. I don’t know why people don’t understand it,” Christie said.

“But what I can explain is, the best way I can explain it is people, after me being here for eight years, are tired of hearing no. And they want to hear yes. They want to hear yes to more spending, yes to every program,” he said. “And beware because the pigs came feeding at the trough in January 2002 after having been starved for eight years. They’ve been starved for eight years now, and I’m just going by what Mr. Murphy himself has promised.”

Murphy spokesman Derek Roseman panned Christie’s economic record and linked it to Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno, now the Republican nominee for governor.

“People all across New Jersey know the Christie-Guadagno record – people are earning less and getting less but paying more,” Roseman said. “After seven-plus years of running our state into the ground, the last person who has any credibility to speak on fiscal issues in New Jersey is Chris Christie.”

Murphy leads Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno by more than 20 points in public-opinion polls.

New Jersey: Decoded cuts through the cruft and gets to what matters in New Jersey news and politics. Follow on Facebook and Twitter.

Michael Symons is State House bureau chief for New Jersey 101.5 and the editor of New Jersey: Decoded. Follow @NJDecoded on Twitter and Facebook. Contact him at

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