TRENTON, NJ – California Governor Gavin Newsom has locked down his state, forced his residents to quarantine in their homes, shut down businesses, enforced mask mandates, and supports vaccination mandates and passports.
Still, 63% of Californians voted to retain him as their governor in last night’s recall election.
Over on the east coast, New Jersey Republican Jack Ciattarelli is trying to defeat a Democrat governor who did everything Newsom did…and more. Phil Murphy continues to surge in the polls against Ciattarelli, a former Assemblyman and it seems the more Murphy does to the people of New Jersey, the more Democrats in New Jersey support him.
New Jersey is also a predominantly blue state with a few Republican strongholds in the more rural areas. Today, reality struck Ciattarelli’s campaign. There’s a lot of voters who actually support the questionable actions of blue-state governors like Murphy and Newsom.
Ciattarelli has a mountain to climb in the wake of last night’s shock to the Republican system. He’s already behind in the polls and he has alienated many of his own Republican voters. You see, Ciattarelli is a candidate stuck in the middle of the state’s diehard conservatives and the Democrats. He has alienated many conservatives and hardline Republicans due to his “Never Trump” stance and harsh words against Trump.
Ciattarelli has called the former President a “charlatan…unfit to be president” and “reckless” and he’s not backing down from that stance. He has made no reconciliation with conservative Republicans, many of who want to see him lose simply out of spite against the out-of-touch GOP establishment.
A Ciattarelli victory is nearly impossible in November. Murphy’s base is riled up and ready for a fight with Republicans. Meanwhile, Republicans are riled up and looking for a fight with each other in many areas of the state. One of those areas is the Jersey Shore where in Monmouth and Ocean Counties, Republican factions are essentially engaged in a civil war.
That war is being led by GOP chairmen Frank Holman (Ocean) and Shawn Golden (Monmouth). Golden and Holman have been working on a two-year purge of Republicans who have dissented against the party’s direction in the post-Chris Christie era.
Spurred by a feud that has split Ocean County between Holman and former OC GOP Chairman George Gilmore, the battle lines between Republicans have been drawn and many rank and file Republicans, despite their hatred for Phil Murphy want to send their failed leaders a message that they are on notice.
While Ciattarelli is by no means a Trump fan or supporter, Governor Phil Murphy is doing an exceptional job painting that picture with his base.
Today, Murphy released a new ad tying Ciattarelli to Trump, white supremacists, election conspiracy theories, and the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.
Ciattarelli now has two months left to convince independent voters he’s the one for them, but more importantly, he has to find a way to unite his own base, a battle he has largely ignored. If he continues to ignore his own base, that could mean the end of his political career in November.
Republicans in New Jersey are living in a bubble. They think everyone thinks like them and if there is one lesson New Jersey Republicans can learn from Newsom’s decisive victory it’s that they are wrong. In New Jersey, the establishment Republican party is in a bad spot. It continues playing middle-of-the-road politics, a failed strategy over the past 3-4 cycles instead of catering to its base. Murphy on the other hand has been working overtime to appease and energize his base.
We reached out to both campaigns for comment on the Newsom victory and did not receive an immediate response.
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