Phil Rizzo hints at 2025 challenge against Jack Ciattarelli, slams GOP establishment

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TOMS RIVER, NJ – New Jersey independent Republican conservative Phil Rizzo eluded that he may challenge 2021 election loser Jack Ciattarelli in 2025 after Ciattarelli announced his plans to run again in four years.

Rizzo gave an ominous message, to expect a spirited primary election in 2025 in a race that could include several candidates beyond the usual suspects.

“While the dust has hardly settled from the 2021 Gubernatorial Race, there is already talk regarding 2025,” Rizzo said. “I think New Jerseyans should prepare themselves for a spirited 2025 primary. Grassroots voters won’t allow themselves to be told who their nominee will be again.”

In 2021, Ciattarelli was the moderate GOP establishment pick for governor and both he and his opponent Hirsh Singh were essentially kept out of the official nomination process in most counties.

Ciattarelli struck hard against Rizzo, attacking his family, business and his faith in the 2021 GOP primary. Ciattarelli left deep scars with both of his opponents, including Rizzo and South Jersey conservative Hirsh Singh. While Singh and Rizzo both loosely supported Ciattarelli for governor, neither become a vocal advocate for Ciattarelli. That support from his former opponents could have pushed Ciattarelli over the finish line to defeat Murphy.

Singh this week blamed Ciattarelli for his loss, adding that it was the South Jersey Republican base that lead the red wave in 2021 and not Ciattarelli.

“Moderate Republican candidate for Governor Jack Ciattareli has conceded,” Singh said on Friday. “I and other conservatives, especially in Atlantic and Ocean Counties delivered, leading to a red wave and victories across the state.”

Singh pointed out that Ciattarelli, who he believed was also backed by former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie failed to deliver wins in their home counties.

“We always knew Jack would lose but I held my tongue in the interest of the party,” Singh added. “It’s time for moderates to hand over the reins to us as conservatives and take the back seat and support us, like we have supported their candidate, in the interest of the party.”

Related: Can Jack Ciattarelli realistically be expected to defeat a popular slate of Democrats eyeing 2025?