Jack who? That’s what many New Jerseyans are asking as we head into the final two months of the gubernatorial campaign between Democrat Governor Phil Murphy and his opponent, establishment Republican Jack Ciattarelli.
Ciattarelli, a former New Jersey Assemblyman turned professional candidate for governor ran unsuccessfully for the seat in 2017 against former Chris Christie Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno. Guadagno defeated Ciattarelli in the election 114,000 votes to 75,000.
After nearly six years of being a full-time candidate for governor, many New Jerseyans still haven’t heard of Jack Ciattarelli, according to a poll conducted by Monmouth University. It’s not sure whether Ciattarelli’s lack of charisma and dull interactions are to blame or if it’s a breakdown in his campaign team’s strategy during the election cycle.
Voters don’t know Jack about Ciattarelli
50% of those polled by Monmouth University had absolutely no opinion of Jack Ciattarelli, down 11% since August. Only 10% viewed him as favorable and 10% viewed him as unfavorable. In other words, few people on either side of the aisle realize that Jack Ciattarelli even exists.
When it comes to handling the pandemic, 50% of New Jerseyans still feel Phil Murphy is more trusted than Ciattarelli. Only 23% of those polled felt Ciattarelli was more qualified to handle the pandemic response.
This comes after Murphy’s campaign blasted the airwaves and social media with commercials painting Ciattarelli as a dangerous Trumpian who opposes vaccines and mask mandates.
Those who did know who Ciattarelli is said they believed he would be more capable of controlling the out-of-control tax situation in New Jersey over Murphy. Ciattarelli has been running advertisements of Murphy telling residents if they are concerned about taxes, maybe New Jersey isn’t the place for them.
Ciattarelli also held a slight edge over Murphy when it came to small business confidence.
Despite Ciattarelli’s campaign trying to paint the Murphy administration as a hostile work environment for women and sexual abuse victims, 40% of those polled still favored Murphy when it came to treating women with respect. Ciattarelli’s campaign blitz on the topic has largely been ignored.
68% of those questioned didn’t know enough about Ciattarelli’s campaign platform saying they were not sure whether or not his agenda is in line or out of step with the state.
Overall, Murphy held a commanding 51% to 38% lead over Ciattarelli, dropping just 1% since the August poll.
Shore News Network reached out to Ciattarelli campaign consultant Chris Russell and has not received a response.
Jerrell Harvey, campaign manager for Phil Murphy said the governor is confident in the direction of his campaign and they take all polls with a grain of salt, adding the Murphy campaign will be steaming ahead without a course correction moving forward.
In the past week, Russell has been having a Twitter breakdown.
“Yesterday’s positive Murphy ad launch was a head fake intended to fool the press into reporting that Murphy isn’t worried. Less than 24 hours later, they’ve shifted most of their spend behind the negative and the outside guns come in, too,” Russell posted. “Chris Russell @ChrisRussell_NJ · Sep 15 Time stop pretending he’s way ahead. Polls are tightening, @JoeBiden is an anchor & there’s zero intensity behind Murphy. The race is on.”
Russell even challenged Murphy on a recent statement regarding a reunion performance of the band The Fugees.
“The Fugees are hip hop greats and among the most iconic music groups to come out of New Jersey. Excited to see them back on stage for the first time in 15 years,” Murphy tweeted.
“I’m calling bullsh*t on this. Does anyone think @GovMurphy could sing the hook from “Ready or Not”?Zero chance he could. Which means zero chance he ever heard of the Fugees 15 years ago. C’mon,” Russell responded, claiming Murphy was pandering for black votes…because you know…the Fugees are a hip hop group.
In November, Jack Ciattarelli could be the New Jersey Republican Party’s latest blue glowie.
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