Jack Ciattarelli, now the clear front-runner for the Republican nomination for governor, tonight picked up the support of the Essex County Republican chairman.
“It’s time for the party to get behind Jack Ciattarelli,” said Al Barlas, who had previously been uncommitted. “Long, drawn-out primaries don’t help us if the goal is to win in November.”
Ciattarelli’s main rival for the nomination, former Republican State Chairman Doug Steinhardt, dropped out of the race tonight.
Barlas said that Ciattarelli, a former assemblyman who ran on Essex GOP organization line in 2017, is the only remaining viable candidate to take on Gov. Phil Murphy in the fall.
“Ciattarelli is a good friend and I’m pleased that we can get behind one candidate in January and avoid an expensive and protracted primary,” Barlas stated.
Noting that Murphy has already qualified for the maximum amount in the publicly financed election, Barlas said that the clear field will enable Ciattarelli to also concentrate on the general election.
“Now we can focus on making sure that Jack has all the necessary resources to win in November,” Barlas said.