A staged attack on the wife and family of gubernatorial candidate Jack Ciattarelli by the campaign manager for his Republican primary election opponent, Hirsh Singh, continues to draw outrage from political leaders of both parties.
“Attacking a political opponent’s family is appalling and disgraceful,” said Gov. Phil Murphy on Twitter. “Hirsh Singh should immediately apologize to the Ciattarelli’s. This is a new low.”
King Penna, who is running the Singh campaign, ambushed Melinda Ciattarelli as she was watching the candidates debate on Tuesday night.
Assemblywoman BettyLou DeCroce (R-Parsippany) called on Singh to get rid of Penna.
“The conduct of Hirsh Singh’s campaign manager, King Penna, is outrageous and shameful — Mr. Singh should immediately fire him and apologize to Melinda Ciattarelli and the entire Ciattarelli family,” DeCroce said. “I was absolutely horrified when I watched this video and know that these types of attacks on women are far too common in politics.”
The Cape May County GOP Chairman, Michael Donohue, called the attack on the Ciattarelli family a “cheap, petty, childish, amateur, ultra-moronic” by the Singh campaign.
“Mrs. Ciattarelli got it right,” Donohue said. “This guy is an “arrogant a#%hole.”
The toughest criticism of all came from Republican strategist Steve Kush, who hosts a South Jersey radio show with a large audience of GOP primary voters.
“The bottom line is, true to form, Penna decided to pick on a woman because he’s too weak to go at a man,” said Kush on the bobandsteve.com website. “To be clear, I don’t like Penna and the feeling is mutual. I wouldn’t give him a glass of water if I found him standing, stranded in the middle of a desert. But I would rub wet cat food on him and let the coyotes do the rest.”
Kush said backed up a statement by another Republican candidate for governor, Hudson County pastor Phil Rizzo, that Penna has a history of picking fights with women posted what he believes to be an opposition research memo on Singh’s campaign manager.