Republican gubernatorial contender Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli is in a tough spot. Members of his party are already fighting amongst themselves for the Republican nomination for president in 2024, jockeying against each other for primacy among the QAnon, anti-mask conservative electorate. That can’t be helpful to a campaign struggling to break through with voters against a popular incumbent in Governor Phil Murphy. But with his two biggest political heroes now appearing to be on a collision course, what’s Jack going to do?

OPTION A: Stick with the Donald! 

While he spoke out against Donald Trump years ago, Jack’s tune changed quickly when he saw how popular Trump (somehow still) is with Republican voters. Ciattarelli has gone all in on the Trump Train in the last few years, endorsing his re-election campaign and headlining a “Stop the Steal” rally, where far-right extremists spread dangerous conspiracy theories about the results of the 2020 election being illegitimate. How can Jack resist supporting another Trump run for President? 

OPTION B: Go Back to Christie!

Not so fast Donald — there’s an even more toxic political figure ready to run! Former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie left office with the worst favorability ratings in state history, but that hasn’t stopped him from thinking he should be President. Ciattarelli and Christie have been close partners on many issues, from attacking teachers and other public employees, to supporting Christie’s disastrous fiscal management that led to 11 credit rating downgrades, to even cheerleading for Christie’s historically terrible call to stop the ARC tunnel project. They’ve had so many good times together, how can Jack not be in Christie’s corner? 

No matter which decision Jack Ciattarelli makes, we know that he’s the wrong choice for New Jersey — because someone this close to Donald Trump AND Chris Christie can never be trusted to lead our state.

Republican gubernatorial candidate Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli has two major problems hovering over his campaign, and their names are Donald Trump and Chris Christie. As The Record’s Charlie Stile outlines in his latest column, Ciattarelli is being forced to reckon with his past and current support for the former president and governor, both of whom remain incredibly unpopular with New Jersey voters. As Stile lays out:

But former Somerset County Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli, the presumptive GOP front-runner for governor, is facing an unprecedented guilt-by-association challenge.

He is being cast as the immediate descendant of two unpopular Republicans with national profiles: former President Donald Trump, the anti-immigrant champion of conspiracy theories and peddler of the “Big Lie” over the 2020 election; and Chris Christie, the Bridgegate-battered ex-New Jersey governor, whose Nero-in-a-beach-chair photo during the 2016 budget shutdown is seared into the state’s consciousness.

Christie left office with an approval rating near 14%, the lowest of a New Jersey governor in the history of modern polling.

“For six long years, Ciattarelli was Christie’s No. 1 cheerleader in Trenton,” says the narrator in a Democratic Governors Association video released last week.

Assemblyman Ciattarelli shouldn’t be surprised that his associations with Trump and Christie are coming back to bite him. In an effort to gain traction in the race, Ciattarelli has embraced radical right wing positions on everything from voting rights to women’s healthcare to the minimum wage, putting him totally out of step with New Jersey. But Ciattarelli can’t shake off these unpopular stances, because he risks alienating the Trump base that controls the New Jersey Republican Party:

The Trump base, with its belief that President Joe Biden stole the election, is formidable and has helped explain Ciattarelli’s evolution from Trump critic to limited supporter and finally to attendee at a “Stop the Steal” rally late last year.

And last week, Ciattarelli touted the endorsement of Rep. Jeff Van Drew, R-Cape May, the former Democrat who pledged his “undying” support for Trump and voted against certifying Biden’s 2020 election.

Although a routine and unsurprising development, the Murphy campaign came out swinging. 

“With the GOP primary heating up, Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli is willing to do anything to boost his credibility with Trump’s far-right base — even if it means partnering with a spineless empty suit like Jeff Van Drew,” said Murphy for Governor spokesman Jerrel Harvey.

Assemblyman Ciattarelli also can’t change his past legislative votes for Christie’s toxic agenda, nor can he duck away from his record as one of the ex-governor’s top cheerleaders in Trenton:

Democratic operatives have combed through Ciattarelli’s voting record to make their case. They have compiled a list of his votes that aligned with Christie. On gun control issues, for example, Ciattarelli voted against banning .50-caliber long rifles and then voted against an override of Christie’s veto.

Ciattarelli, a Second Amendment supporter, followed a similar path on legislation that called for reducing the capacity of ammunition magazines from 15 to 10 cartridges.

Murphy’s campaign also points to Ciattarelli’s repeated support for Christie’s efforts to pull $7.5 million for women’s health care clinics, run mostly by Planned Parenthood. Democrats and women’s groups saw it as a thinly veiled attack on the right to abortion, which Christie initially denied but later confirmed at a conservative policy conference.

Last month, the Murphy campaign enlisted all 28 female Democratic lawmakers to condemn Ciattarelli, asserting that those cuts also denied basic health service to low-income women of color.

It’s never been more clear who Jack Ciattarelli is — a Trenton insider who has hopelessly tied himself to the radical, QAnon wing of the Republican Party and who will never be able to fully break away from his history of supporting Donald Trump and Chris Christie. That’s the last thing New Jersey wants to see leading our state, and it’s why we need to re-elect Governor Phil Murphy. 

Metuchen Mayor Roasts Ciattarelli After Dishonest Downtown Visit

Mayor Busch: ‘Facts say otherwise’ to Jack’s Attacks on Main Street

TRENTON, NJ — Republican gubernatorial candidate Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli continued his cringeworthy tour of New Jersey, with yet another campaign stop ending in disaster. Following being caught maskless at multiple indoor campaign events and having his apparent support for an anti-government anarchist State Assembly candidate exposed, Ciattarelli’s latest gaffe comes after a visit to Metuchen’s thriving downtown area — which Ciattrarelli promptly criticized as a “failed” downtown. That drew the ire of Metuchen Mayor Jonathan Busch, who roasted Ciattarelli on Twitter and called out his false attacks on the community.

“Jack Ciattarelli can’t seem to catch a break — when he’s not picking fights and drawing negative attention at his campaign stops, he’s getting exposed again and again for being totally out of step with New Jersey on everything from gun safety to women’s healthcare to the minimum wage,” said NJDSC Executive Director Saily Avelenda. “Assemblyman Ciattarelli is still stuck in neutral, trying to fend off a radical primary challenger and failing to connect with New Jersey voters on seemingly any issue. Meanwhile, Governor Murphy is in a strong position as we look to the general election where his record and accomplishments in his first term will speak for themselves.”

NJDSC Files Formal Objection to Gubernatorial Candidate Lisa McCormick’s Petitions After Discovering Serious Fraud Concerns

McCormick’s Petitions Include Voters Who Deny Ever Signing Them and Who Died Before Petitioning Process Began, Numerous Other Irregularities

TRENTON, NJ — The New Jersey Democratic State Committee is filing a formal objection with the Secretary of State’s Office against gubernatorial candidate Lisa McCormick after the party discovered credible instances of possible fraud in her campaign’s nominating petitions. An investigation by state party officials shows that numerous voters who are claimed to have signed Ms. McCormick’s petition did not in fact sign them, did not authorize their names to be used, and most importantly did not even know that their names or electronic signatures were being utilized by Ms. McCormick’s campaign — in fact, in one instance a voter who died in January is listed as having signed McCormick’s petition. The party sent the attached letter to the State Division of Elections today lodging its objection and calling for a law enforcement investigation. The NJDSC expects to have the matter heard by an administrative law judge within the coming days. 

“Protecting the sanctity of our electoral process is the NJDSC’s priority and we are concerned about what we observed with this filing,” said NJDSC Executive Director Saily Avelenda. “The actions of the McCormick campaign are deeply disturbing, should disqualify her from appearing on the primary ballot, and should be referred to law enforcement.” 

NJDSC’s preliminary investigation shows that Ms. McCormick appears to have used mail-merge software to create the petition filing and did not submit even one independent electronic signature verification as most other candidates have done. In addition, other anomalies were observed that cast doubt on the veracity of the overall filing. For example, out of 1,951 alleged signatures submitted, approximately 1,671 have last names that start with the letter A or B, a statistical anomaly at best. In addition, document metadata analyzed by NJDSC officials shows that the McCormick petitions were created at the same time and in the same Microsoft Word document. Finally, several voters were identified to have moved out of state or otherwise changed addresses months and even years prior.  

State law makes it a crime of the third degree to “falsely” make or submit a fraudulent petition for nomination, and thus NJDSC is calling for the situation to be referred to law enforcement for further investigation. 

Ciattarelli Continues Quest to Court Far-Right Extremists, Refuses to Denounce Oath Keeper GOP Candidate

Is Republican Candidate Ciattarelli Hearing Rizzo’s Footsteps?

TRENTON, NJ — Ever since he began his candidacy for Governor, Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli has bent over backwards to appeal to the far-right, Trump-QAnon wing of the Republican Party. First he flip flopped on Donald Trump, from calling him a “charlatan” in 2016 to embracing his disastrous policy agenda, and even attended a “Stop the Steal” rally in 2020. Then he doubled down on his support for a host of harmful right-wing policies, from voter suppression to cutting women’s health care funding to stopping the state’s minimum wage increase. 

Now, Assemblyman Ciattarelli is reportedly refusing to denounce Republican District 37 State Senate candidate Edward Durfee, the Northern NJ Regional Director of the Oath Keepers — a dangerous anti-government militia group whose leaders helped organize the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. 

Why is Ciattarelli so concerned about alienating the far right? Maybe because his new primary opponent, tax-dodger Phil Rizzo, is reportedly courting Trump’s endorsement and catching fire with the former President’s base. Is Ciattarelli hearing Rizzo’s footsteps? 

“Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli’s desperate attempt to appeal to the most radical, lunatic fringe of the Republican Party suddenly makes a lot more sense after the emergence of Phil Rizzo as a challenger for the GOP gubernatorial nomination,” said NJDSC Spokesman Phil Swibinski. “The question New Jerseyans need an answer to is how far is Ciattarelli willing to go to placate the far-right? He’s apparently fine being on the ballot with an Oath Keeper, so how about a Proud Boy? Or a KKK member? Or a neo-Nazi? Ciattarelli’s embrace of the far-right speaks volumes, and it’s just more proof of why he’s absolutely wrong for New Jersey.”

It’s only April and our Congressman in the 2nd district, Jeff Van Drew, already has so much to be ashamed of. We’ve compiled some of his worst failures so far, and we’re asking YOU to pick the worst #traitorvandrew moment in his Hall of Shame. Was it his gaudy blue suit on the House floor, or his complete and total betrayal of his constituents during a global pandemic? See which moments made the cut, and then pick your favorite:

Most Cringe-Worthy:

Van Drew pledged his “undying loyalty” to Donald Trump, the reality show President who was impeached not once, but twice. There are a lot of reasons to be loyal to a President, but colluding with enemy governments, unparalleled cruelty, and inciting insurrection aren’t some of them! 

Most Questionable Judgement:

Van Drew voted to keep Marjorie Taylor-Greene, the ultra right-wing Congresswoman from Georgia, on her committees. This was AFTER she: harassed an 18-year old gun violence activist, spouted Q-Anon conspiracy theories, and expressed support for executing prominent Democratic politicians. 

Biggest Flip Flop:

Van Drew voted “no” on the Equality Act, which would extend Civil Rights protections to the LGBTQ+ community. Extremely worthy legislation that Van Drew supported when he was a Democrat, but voted against as a Republican. 

Most Harmful:
Van Drew voted against the COVID-19 relief package, which gave Americans $1,400 stimulus checks, provided direct assistance to small businesses, and funded vaccine efforts. New Jersey has been devastated by the coronavirus, but hats off to Van Drew for always keeping what’s important in perspective: politics!

Most Damaging to Democracy:

Van Drew voted against HR1, which would have expanded voting rights, limited money in politics, and curbed partisan gerrymandering. This is yet another bill that Van Drew supported as a Democrat but voted against as a Republican. Guess that’s what happens when you join the party whose policy ideas are so unpopular that you have to suppress votes!

Biggest Class Clown:

Van Drew was caught ignoring COVID-19 guidelines while at an indoor campaign stop for Gubernatorial candidate Jack Ciatterelli. There were too many people and not enough masks, not to mention that public health guidelines are there for a reason – to keep people safe! Apparently, both Van Drew and Ciatterelli think the rules don’t apply to them. 

There are (unfortunately!) so many moments to choose from, but what do you think is the most shameful? Voting is open – stay tuned for a winner! And don’t forget – if you hate what you saw here, sign up to join our movement to defeat Van Drew in 2022!

MASKLESS JACK STRIKES AGAIN!

Republican Gubernatorial Candidate Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli Again Flouts Public Health Guidelines, Photographed With No Mask at Two Indoor Political Events

TRENTON, NJ — Only a week after receiving widespread scorn for breaking public health guidelines and not wearing a mask at a crowded indoor campaign event, you would think Republican gubernatorial candidate Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli might have learned his lesson — but you would be wrong. Assemblyman Ciattarelli was photographed maskless at two more indoor campaign stops in recent days, including meetings of the Gloucester County and Morris County Republican Committees.

Gloucester County GOP Event

Morris County GOP Event

Ciattarelli’s continued refusal to follow simple public health guidelines at a time when cases are once again increasing shows that he is more interested in pandering to an extreme Republican base than in setting the example that New Jerseyans expect from their leaders. 

“Jack Ciattarelli is trying to live in two worlds, one inhabited by the QAnon loving, mask-hating Trump-infested extreme right wing of the Republican Party, and one with everyone else in our state where he pretends to be a moderate,” said NJDSC Executive Director Saily Avelenda. “That’s why he won’t wear a mask at these events, because he wants to signal to the far right that he’s ‘one of them’ — it’s the same reason why he spoke at a Trump ‘Stop the Steal’ rally and why he’s proposing blatant voter suppression tactics and cuts to women’s health care. But New Jersey will not allow someone who cozies up to conservative extremists to be Governor, and Jack Ciattarelli proves more and more each day that he’s unfit to lead our state.” 

All over the country Republicans are working to disenfranchise voters with outrageous voter suppression tactics.  States like Georgia have rolled back voting rights laws, enacting strict voter identification requirements and even making it a crime to offer a bottle of water to voters waiting in line at the polls. Here in New Jersey, we know how important it is to expand access to voting — that’s why today is so exciting, because Governor Phil Murphy just signed a bill to offer Early Voting here in NJ for the first time, and he did it with Stacey Abrams in attendance.

Early Voting will be a major advance in how our elections are run that will enable more New Jerseyans to exercise their sacred right to vote. Here’s what this means for our elections:

What is Early Voting?

Early Voting allows registered voters to vote using machines at polling places before the day of certain primary and general elections in New Jersey. It expands on the state’s current Election Day voting and Vote by Mail programs, giving voters another option to make sure their voices are heard. 

How Does Early Voting Work?

Each county will be required to open between three and seven Early Voting sites, depending on their population. The sites are required to be open Monday through Saturday from at least 10 AM to 8 PM, and on Sunday from at least 10 AM to 6 PM. More information will be available from each county’s Board of Elections prior to the start of Early Voting. 

When Will Early Voting Be Available?

The new Early Voting system will be available for this year’s General Election in November, 2021, when the Governor and Lt. Governor, the State Legislature and many county and local offices are on the ballot. There will be nine days of early voting this Fall, including two weekends. 

Why is Early Voting Important?

As Democrats, we are committed to opening up voting access as much as possible to allow more people to participate in our democracy. Over the last few years the state has met that value in several ways, from expanding vote by mail to offering online voter registration, to automatically registering new voters. Early Voting is the next step in ensuring that everyone is able to vote, especially people working jobs or with other responsibilities that make voting in person on a Tuesday difficult. 

How Do We Know Early Voting is Secure?

The bill provides that each county board will be responsible for forming and executing a written plan for the security of the voting machines, ballots, and election records used during the early voting period based on guidelines established by the Secretary of State and submitted thereto no later than December 15 of each year. The written security plan is to ensure, to the greatest extent possible, the integrity of the voting process and the security of voting machines, voted ballots, and election records and materials used during the early voting period. The security plan must specify a chain of custody and security plan for voting machines and a chain of custody for the voted ballots, which must include the transfer of voted ballots to each county board of elections at the end of each early voting day for safekeeping.

This is a major milestone in the fight to expand voting rights in New Jersey, and Democrats are continuing to lead the way. Governor Murphy said it best at the event, stating: “While other states are looking to find ways to keep their citizens from voting, we have consistently worked to ensure that the voices of the people are heard. I am immensely proud to sign this legislation today and to remind the nation that our democracy wins when we open the doors of our polling places wide instead of slamming them shut.”

NJDSC to Celebrate Women’s History Month with Virtual Event Featuring First Lady Tammy Murphy, PA Second Lady Gisele Fetterman

Event will wrap up NJDSC’s Women’s History Month Programming

TRENTON, NJ — The New Jersey Democratic State Committee will host a virtual event celebrating Women’s History Month this week featuring First Lady Tammy Murphy, Pennsylvania Second Lady Gisele Fetterman and a panel of women leaders throughout the state who are making a difference in their communities. The event will be held on Wednesday, March 31 at 7:00 p.m. and attendees can sign up here: https://www.mobilize.us/njdsc/event/380463/.

“During the month of March, the NJDSC held virtual panels and highlighted the women across our state that are making an impact, in celebration of Women’s History Month,” said NJDSC Executive Director Saily Avelenda. “This last event will be a tremendous way to wrap up what we have done and reflect on the work that is still to be done. I look forward to celebrating the amazing contributions that New Jersey women are making every day to move our state and our country forward.”

In addition to the First and Second Lady, attendees will hear from the women leading their communities who will discuss the importance of representation including: SAAC Caucus Co-Chairs Toral Patel and Afsheen Shamsi; AAPI Caucus Co-Chair Khyati Joshi; Emerging Leaders Caucus Chair Fatima Heyward and LGBTQ New Jersey statehouse veteran Jennifer Sciortino.

The new site showcases opportunities for voters to get involved in helping to elect Democratic candidates who will work to build a stronger, fairer New Jersey

TRENTON, NJ — The New Jersey Democratic State Committee has launched a totally revamped website with new branding ahead of the critical 2021 election season. The website features opportunities to get involved, donate to Democratic candidates and be a part of events taking place throughout the year are all highlighted on the new site. Voters may also stay up to date with a regularly updated news feed and access important voter resources. The site is fully integrated with the Mobilize platform, which allows the party, candidates and grassroots advocates to create events and other activities and connect with voters. 

“We are investing in updated technologies to make our party more accessible to Democrats across New Jersey.  Our new website is another tool to make it easier for Democrats to get involved in moving our party and our state forward,” said NJDSC Chairman John Currie. “This investment will pay political dividends ahead of the November elections, where we will work together to re-elect our outstanding Governor Phil Murphy and Democrats up and down the ballot who will fight for a stronger and fairer New Jersey.”

“We are extremely excited to launch this new site today, which will have a tremendous impact on our ability to organize ahead of the 2021 election season,” said NJDSC Executive Director Saily Avelenda. “Our party is committed to making it easier for Democrats in New Jersey to get involved and have the resources and information that they need to easily cast their ballots.” 

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