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Republican gubernatorial candidate Jack Ciattarelli at a Hammonton Republican event in November 2020. (Photo: Facebook.)

Ciattarelli scores big endorsements in Hammonton

Republican Club, elected officials take sides early in GOP gubernatorial primary

By David Wildstein, December 07 2020 4:39 pm

A group of Hammonton Republican leaders have endorsed Jack Ciattarelli for the Republican nomination for governor, giving him a block of votes in a town that frequently plays a pivotal role in conventions to award the Atlantic County organization line.

GOP municipal chair Lois Morano, Freeholder Jim Bertino, Councilmen Joe Giralo and Mike Torrissi, Republican Club president Otto Hernandez, school board member John Lyons, former Councilman Mickey Pullia, and former Republican Club President Frank DiMatteo are now out front in support of Ciattarelli.

“Let’s face it, Phil Murphy couldn’t find Hammonton without a GPS. To him, small towns in South Jersey don’t matter,” Ciattarelli said. “I’ve visited Hammonton’s blueberry farms to learn from growers about the impact they are facing from over-regulation and I’ve talked to the owners at Bagliani’s Market and other small businesses about the pressures they face because of Phil Murphy’s executive orders. Hammonton feels like home, and when I’m Governor, I won’t forget them, or small towns like them.”

Ciattarelli has also received the backing of the Hammonton Republican Club.

“In Western Atlantic County many of our towns are bedroom communities where residents travel to Philadelphia or Atlantic City to work. We are also a hub of agriculture with growers, packing facilities and the businesses that support agricultural businesses,” said Bertino, the first county official to take sides in the gubernatorial race.  “We need a Governor who will value what we have to offer in Atlantic County, which is access to the infrastructure needed for businesses to compete in today’s market and a Governor who will fight to keep the garden state green.”

In 2017, then-Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno won the organization line in Atlantic and carried the county in the primary by a 57% to 24% margin over Ciattarelli, a former assemblyman from Somerset County.

Hammonton gave Guadagno 74% of the vote, with 18% for Ciattarelli.

“Runaway property taxes and very little help from state government make New Jersey one of the least friendly places in the nation to operate a business,” said Torrissi, a potential candidate for the legislature next year in the politically competitive 8th district.  “I want a Governor who will make New Jersey open for business and send Phil Murphy back to wherever he came from.”

Giralo is an announced candidate for Atlantic County Clerk next year.  It’s not immediately clear of he would run on Ciattarelli’s line even if the organization goes with another candidate.

“Jack Ciattarelli understands that small towns like Hammonton are the backbone of New Jersey. Places where you can raise your family and be proud of your community,” Giralo said. “ “Phil Murphy and his taxes are damaging small towns like ours by increasing the burden on homeowners and businesses.”

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