Governor candidate Murphy pitches his state bank plan to bankers. Opponents pounce.

By Brent Johnson | NJ Advance Media for
on April 19, 2017 at 8:30 AM, updated April 19, 2017 at 10:54 AM

TRENTON — Phil Murphy, the early Democratic front-runner for governor, defended his proposal to create a state bank to an audience peppered with skeptics Tuesday: members of New Jersey’s banking industry.

Meanwhile, speaking to the same group, a number of his fellow candidates from both parties — including Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno, the Republican favorite — assailed the idea as being dangerous for the Garden State.

Murphy was one of five gubernatorial hopefuls who addressed a gathering of the New Jersey Bankers Association at the Trenton Masonic Temple. The candidates pitched their plans to stimulate the state’s economy in the wake of Gov. Chris Christie, a Republican whose final term ends in January.

The speech came as critics are worried that Murphy’s proposal for a state bank — a key plank in his economic platform — would hurt local banks in New Jersey and that political influence and corruption could seep into the process.