Nearly defeating NJ Gov. Phil Murphy, Republican Jack Ciattarelli launches new campaign

Republican Jack Ciattarelli is running for governor of New Jersey for the third time, hoping to capitalize on his momentum after nearly defeating incumbent Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy in 2021.

Speaking to a gathering full of supporters at the American Hotel, where Abraham Lincoln stayed on his route to the White House in February 1861, Ciattarelli promised to lead the state back from the left following Murphy’s two administrations.

Ciattarelli essentially promised to carry out his proposals from his previous two gubernatorial campaigns: lower taxes, promote school choice, revamp public school curriculum to ensure “age-appropriate lessons,” and pursue a constitutional amendment to limit state lawmakers’ terms.

Nearly defeating NJ Gov. Phil Murphy, Republican Jack Ciattarelli launches new campaign

He chastised Murphy for his Covid-19 policies, which included “sky-high” taxes, overdevelopment of suburbs, and plans to build offshore windmills.

“It’s time for a practical issue solver. A chief executive officer. A hands-on CEO who understands and is willing to complete the necessary tasks. “I believe I know a guy,” said Ciattarelli, a former company owner and three-term state Assembly member.

Ciattarelli has joined state Sen. Jon Bramnick in pursuing the Republican candidacy for governor, though others have been considering it. In a video posted a few hours before Ciattarelli’s announcement, Bramnick emphasized his previous electoral triumphs, including in a congressional seat with more Democrats than Republicans that President Joe Biden won in 2020.

“That will easily carry over into our next gubernatorial election. “We don’t need to lose anymore elections,” Bramnick stated.

Ciattarelli has been a type of perpetual candidate for years, so his campaign announcement is a formality. He promised to run again the day he surrendered his three-point loss to Murphy three years ago, and he has effectively been campaigning ever since, writing op-eds for Gannett newspapers and traveling over the state to raise his reputation.

He first sought the Republican nomination in 2017 but was defeated by then-Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno, who lost the general election to Murphy.

His good performance against Murphy in 2021 coincided with a Republican insurgency in Trenton, when the party gained many seats in the state Legislature, most notably that of Senate President Steve Sweeney.

“Across the country, political talking heads were asking themselves how the hell a guy with a name most people couldn’t pronounce defied the polls, predictions, and pundits,” said Ciattarelli (pronounced chet-a-rell-ee).

“How the hell did we almost defeat an incumbent governor in a state where Democrats outnumber Republicans by a million? We almost made it to all 21 counties and 564 towns thanks to folks like you.”

Nearly defeating NJ Gov. Phil Murphy, Republican Jack Ciattarelli launches new campaign

That close call had its own political impact in the statehouse, with Murphy and Democratic leaders focusing on affordability and launching new tax rebate schemes.

Ciattarelli claimed it was insufficient. New Jersey continues to have the highest property taxes in the country, state expenditure is at historic highs, and he claims it is impossible to retire there. He promised to cap homeowners’ property taxes at 1% and freeze them for those over the age of 70. He also stated that he would decrease business taxes to compete with states like Florida, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania.

Ciatarelli suggests two public school reforms: one to the school-funding system, which determines how much state help each district receives, and another to what is taught in the classroom. When he ran four years ago, Ciattarelli capitalized on Republican outrage over sex education standards and mandates to promote diversity and tolerance.

Ciattarelli’s newest notion is term restrictions. He claimed he’d “fight like hell” to limit state legislators’ terms to eight years, saying “Change is something we must embrace, not fear.”

All of these suggestions would be difficult, if not impossible, to implement in a Democratic-controlled legislature. However, previous Republican governors have been able to reach agreements with Democrats, and Ciattarelli stated that he is “someone who can convince Democrats to support our ideas” but is not one who “surrenders to Democratic Party bosses over hot dogs and hamburgers,” an apparent dig at Bramnick’s relationship with Murphy.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *