New Jersey candidate for Governor Jack Ciattarelli is caught between the world of former U.S. President Donald J. Trump and the establishment Republican party that has been trying to create distance between themselves and the former President.
Current New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy has been railing Ciattarelli for his attendance at a “Stop the Steal” rally held by Trump supporters. Weeks after the January 6th uprising at the U.S. Capitol building, Ciattarelli headlined a Stop the Steal rally near Trump’s Bedminster golf course and the Murphy campaign isn’t letting him forget about it.
“Nearly two months after the violent attacks on our Capitol, Jack Ciattarelli continues to deliberately mislead voters as to why he participated in a rally that was literally advertised as ‘Stop the Steal.’ It’s the same extreme and demonstrably false propaganda that fueled dangerous conspiracy theories about the 2020 election,” Murphy spokesman Jerrel Harvey said. “Voters deserve to know if Jack stands with violent and radical extremists, or with the people of New Jersey.”
Democrats are working their anti-Trump base into a fervor against Ciattarelli, using the former Assemblyman’s on-again, off-again support for the former President as a rallying cry to register new voters and power a vote by mail campaign of monumental proportions.
Around the state, Democrats are wholesale pushing voters to get their vote-by-mail ballots in as soon as possible while the Ciattarelli campaign is still knee-deep in a campaign messaging quagmire, playing defense to the attacks by the Murphy campaign. Insiders within the Murphy campaign have told Shore News Network that if Ciattarelli can’t stand the heat now, they’re just getting started to spend big, backed in part by efforts by the DNC and other nationwide Democrat-aligned PACs.
Murphy and the Democrats have made their campaign agenda clear, to paint Ciattarelli as a dangerous Trump supporter who is coming after the party’s progressive agenda.
“Once again repeating an obvious lie and refusing to own up to his embrace of Trumpism, Republican gubernatorial candidate Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli doubled down on his denial that he knew he was speaking at a far-right “Stop the Steal” rally in November during an interview this weekend on the New Jersey Globe Power Hour radio show. Ciattarelli has repeatedly lied about the appearance despite the fact that video footage clearly shows a large “Stop the Steal” sign directly behind him as he speaks, an invitation to the rally identifies the Assemblyman as a featured speaker and a Confederate flag was clearly visible steps away from the candidate,” the party said this week.
The Murphy team knows Ciattarelli’s Achilles heal and they’re going to keep stabbing the open wounds. Ciattarelli is in a no-win situation. To continue to distance himself from Trump will further alienate a large conservative base that is already skeptical about him. To embrace his presence as the guest of honor at the Stop the Steal rally will aliente Ciattarelli with moderate Democrats and independents he has been courting over the past few months.
Ciattarelli said in an interview with convicted Bridgegate participant David Wildstein that he didn’t know the Stop the Steal rally was actually a Stop the Steal rally.
“When I got to that rally, there were no signs to me that gave any appearance that it was a Stop the Steal rally. So I don’t know what happened behind me while I was speaking,” Ciattarelli said, defending his position.
Ciattarelli has previously declared President Joe Biden as the clear winner of the 2020 election, putting him at odds with the base of voters who believe in Trump’s “Big Lie” platform. Ciattarelli has come under fire in the past over his comments about Trump, calling the former President a “charlatan” who is “unfit to be president”.
“Jack Ciattarelli is once again lying to New Jersey voters and the press, because the truth is that he headlined a Stop the Steal rally just weeks before the January 6th U.S. Capitol insurrection, and he knows that admitting it would be fatal to his already struggling campaign,” said NJDSC Spokesman Phil Swibinski. “He won’t tell the truth because that would mean admitting that he’s the same as other Trump-style extremists like Ron DeSantis and Greg Abbott, choosing to spread lies and conspiracy theories for his own selfish political gain. New Jersey voters will hold Ciattarelli accountable for his embrace of Trumpism by re-electing Governor Murphy and forcefully rejecting this kind of radical Republican extremism.”
We reached out to the Ciattarelli campaign for comment, but have been banned by his team from their page. A message to Ciattarelli campaign consultant Chris Russell went unanswered.
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