The re-election campaign for New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy continues painting New Jersey moderate Republican Jack Ciattarelli as a staunch conservative and loyal supporter of Donald J. Trump.
Ciattarelli’s record on Trump is clear. He called Trump a “charlatan” and even went as far to claim the former President was not fit to be president. Ciattarelli has surrounded himself by other New Jersey blue state never-Trumpers.
Ciattarelli is not the far-right conservative the Murphy campaign is painting him to be. In fact, Ciattarelli barely makes the conservative spectrum when you look at his track record as a New Jersey Assemblyman.
And that scares the hell out of the Murphy campaign who is doing whatever they can to tell the story to Democrat and unaffiliated voters that Ciattarelli is a wreckless, racist Trump clone just waiting to grab your p— and deport your family. Murphy wants voters to believe Jack Ciattarelli is an ant-masker who wants to start the fourth wave of COVID-19.
The truth is, Ciattarelli is none of these. In fact, we’ve been following Ciattarelli for several years now, and we’re still not sure what he is.
In my first and only face-to-face encounter with the man, I introduced myself as editor of Shore News Network and he asked me if I wanted to take a picture with him. That’s the impression many get from Jack. He’s the perennial empty suit candidate just looking for the next hand to shake, picture to take and baby to kiss. There’s not much else to him.
That also scares the Murphy team. Their biggest fear is that a moderate Republican will face them in November because of their ability to take votes away. Jack Ciattarelli is by far the closest competition Murphy has when it comes to securing the vote of moderate Democrats. The campaign is hoping those moderates aren’t swayed by a smooth talking flip flopper willing to tell the base whatever it wants to hear.
At first, we couldn’t figure out why the Murphy campaign kept talking about how hardcore conservative Ciattarelli is. It made no sense. It was not based on fact.
From now until November, if Jack wins the primary, the Murphy campaign will continue painting him as a staunch conservative and Trump loyalist who wants to burn fossil fuels in open pits, run natural gas through your water lines, end publicly funded healthcare and bust unions. It’s the clearest path for winning in November for Phil Murphy.