SOUTH BRUNSWICK, NJ - Mark Caliguire, the former Republican mayor of Montgomery, is currently running to replace Assemblyman Democrat Andrew Zwicker in New Jersey’s 16th district. Caliguire is hoping to end the Democratic control of the New Jersey Legislature that has lasted since 2002.
Caligiure served on the Montgomery township committee from 2003 to 2009, during the first four years of his tenure he was the only republican to serve on the committee. He was elected Mayor of Montgomery in 2009 until 2011. Afterward he was elected to the Somerset County freeholder board where he worked until 2018.
Caligiure said that one of the key issues of his campaign is economic growth, stating that the economy has not been able to grow due to the one party rule in New Jersey. He hopes to accomplish this by lowering regulations and taxes, and cutting government spending.
“New Jersey is going in the wrong direction, We’re dead last in the US for economic growth so far this year despite all the advantages we have New Jersey continues to lag” Caligiure said “We need more Republican voices in government, and I hope to be one of those voices”
One of the taxes that Caligiure has singled out is the corporate business tax. New Jersey has one of the highest corporate business taxes in the country at 11.5% according to the Tax Foundation. Caligiure has cited this high tax as one of the reasons that businesses and high net worth individuals have been leaving New Jersey and costing the state billions of dollars in revenue.
“We’re not competitive enough, we’re taxing people out of the state and it’s pretty self defeating. If elected I want to see less spending and taxes to enhance economic growth in the State.” Caliguire said.
While the seat is currently being held by a democrat, Caligiure is hoping to turn the district red in the upcoming election. Caliguire has been advertising his record as an environmental conservationist in an effort to get more left leaning voters. He is currently the president of the Somerset County Parks Commission and was able to secure hundreds of acres of open space during his time as Mayor.
He has also called next midterm elections in New Jersey a referendum on Governor Phil Murphy and his performance thus far. Caliguire thinks that Murphy does not represent the more ‘moderate’ politics of New Jersey residents, calling him a ‘far-left governor’ in a more centrist state.
Caligiure lost a bid for this seat back in 2017. He has stated that he lost that seat due to the public’s reaction to both Governor Christie as well as President Trump. This time around, Caligiure is hoping to focus his campaign on more New Jersey focused issues and appeal to some of the public’s disliking of Governor Murphy.
“This is really Murphy’s midterm election and we’re going to find out what the public really thinks about him. If the State is unsatisfied then we’re going to see a lot more Republicans in the legislature.” Caliguire said.