All-out warfare has been raging in the New Jersey Republican party for over a year and three camps of Republicans are battling it out in the streets to be the ones to challenged Governor Phil Murphy in November.
First, you have the establishment Republican candidate Jack Ciattarelli who has the part (swamp) line in every county statewide. You would think this endorsement by GOP leadership would be a no-brainer for President Donald J. Trump’s endorsement, yet here we are, three weeks before one of the most critical primaries in the United States in 2021 and Trump has been silent.
Trump will soon be returning to New Jersey, but he’s not likely to get involved in the New Jersey Republican primary as he has done throughout the country on less important elections.
Why? Trump’s in a bad spot in New Jersey. He cannot back Ciattarelli openly because it would send the wrong message to other Republicans who have defied the former president. Ciattarelli was a well-known “anti-Trump” establishment guy for a long time.
Ahead of Trump’s 2016 election win, Ciattarelli called the President a “Charlatan” who is “Unfit to be president”.
Those words are now biting him as Trump has yet to give the establishment swamp guy his endorsement. If Trump endorses Ciattarelli it would send the message nationwide to the never-Trump crowd that the former President is willing to forgive and forget the actions of his enemies and detractors.
Ciattarelli’s campaign is being managed by fellow Trump denier Chris Russell. Russell has made his opinions about Trump known throughout his campaigns in New Jersey. He makes sure all of his candidates over the years have maintained proper social distancing between themselves and the president he has openly declared, does not represent the values of the Republican party.
His opponent, Hirsh Singh has the Trump crowd behind him and his campaign manager is former Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale. Sources within the Trump circle have indicated the Trump camp is also behind Singh, but it’s not likely that the President will make a formal endorsement, instead, he will keep his hands clean in the New Jersey gubernatorial primary.
In the end, the answer could be as simple as Trump and Murphy have a great relationship inside and outside of politics and Trump sees the writing on the wall in New Jersey ending with a landslide win for Murphy in New Jersey. After all, the President has made his stance clear over the years, he doesn’t back losers.
With the GOP infighting in 2020 coming to a boil in 2021, the entire party is now seen as a party that can’t win in November against a well oiled and well-funded Democrat political machine.
This week, Ciattarelli launched a new attack ad against Singh, promoted by blogger Matt Rooney, a staunch supporter of Ciattarelli. Rooney once blogged that all Trump supporters should be thrown over the border wall, a comment he later apologized for. It’s clear that Ciattarelli’s inner circle of never Trumpers is the reason why the former President is gunshy about backing a candidate in the New Jersey primary.
Trump needs to make an endorsement in the June 8th primary to maintain his credibility with undecided Republicans in one of the country’s most blue states.