Who has more support from the Trenton backed GOP establishment as Republicans head into the final two months of campaigning before June’s primary election? It depends who you ask.
The campaign for Jack Ciattarelli this week blasted the campaign for Kim Guadagno, telling establishment supporters that Chris Christie’s number two isn’t strong enough to defeat whoever the Democrats put against the Republicans this November.
In the contest of winning over County GOP club support, Guadagno managed to win 10 county party endorsements while Ciattarelli won 7 in a courting process that involved wooing county chairmen, Republican municipal mayors, municipal committeemen and county committeemen, New Jersey’s political elite.
“The Lt. Governor’s 10 county lines fail to equal 50% of the average Republican primary vote share statewide,” the campaign said in a statement. “In fact, if you add up the 7 county lines secured by Assemblyman Ciattarelli, plus the 4 counties that don’t award preferential ballot placement via a line, it equals nearly 51% of the primary vote share.”
Ciattarelli went on to blast Guadagno’s fledgling non-profit, Building a Better New Jersey Together.
“Building a Better New Jersey Together – belies a campaign that has been nearly devoid of substance thus far,” Ciattarelli said. “Newspaper editorial boards and the state’s leading conservative columnist have sharply criticized the Lt. Governor for a lack of substance and ducking the press.”
With New Jersey’s Republican establishment vote split down the middle, the primary at this point is anyone’s race once non-establishment voters head to the polls in June.
Guadagno has been working hard to come out from behind Chris Christie’s shadow where she had been firmly planted for the past eight years, but Ciattarelli said that’s not enough.
“Worse than being a weak frontrunner in the primary, Lt. Governor Guadagno is a near certain loser in a general election matchup against Phil Murphy – and likely by a landslide margin,” Ciattarelli’s camp claimed.
In a strange web video last week, Gudagadno distanced herself from the Governor’s $300 million dollar statehouse renovation, criticizing “Trenton politicians” for the cost.
Guadagno, in the video admitted that after eight years of the Christie/Guadagno administration, New Jersey still has the highest taxes and foreclosure rates in the nation.
On the undercard in the primary, candidates Steve Rogers and Joe Rullo continue their play on the actual Republican primary voters, content with not getting the establishment support.
Last weekend, Rullo headlined a Make America Great Again March in Seaside Heights before an audience of over 2,000 diehard Donald Trump supporters. Rullo hopes his open support of issues important to the Trump base in New Jersey will allow him to get the necessary Republican voters in June.
While Guadagno and Ciattarelli battle each other, Rullo is hoping to sneak in the back door.
Guadagno has raise more money than Ciattarelli. Her campaign raised $830,000 while reports claim Ciattarelli has not yet hit the $430,000 threshold, according to a report in the Observer.