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Former Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli. (Photo: Kevin Sanders for New Jersey Globe)

Democratic State Committee hits Ciattarelli on support for Trump

GOP gubernatorial candidate sat out the 2016 presidential race

By Nikita Biryukov, September 29 2020 9:45 am

Republican gubernatorial candidate Jack Ciattarelli said he’d back President Donald Trump for a second term Saturday. Now, Democrats are turning his support for the president into a bludgeon.

“I’m voting for the president. His policies have worked for the country, David,” Ciattarelli said on the New Jersey Globe Power Hour with David Wildstein on Saturday. “He’s been right on the economy. He’s been in right playing hardball with China. He’s been right on the war on ISIS. He’s been right on border security, and I believe he’s been right in transforming the federal bench, including the Supreme Court, into a more conservative leaning. His policies have worked for the country, and yes, he has my support and has my vote this November.”

The full-throated endorsement is something of an about-face from Ciattarelli, who vowed to sit out the 2016 presidential race after the release of recordings showing Trump bragging about grabbing women by their genitals.

But with a Republican gubernatorial primary ahead and some of the state’s other top Republicans likely to announce their own bids at Gov. Phil Murphy’s seat, Ciattarelli is taking steps to avoid alienating his base by taking a shine to Trump.

“Jack Ciattarelli has a big problem, and it’s going to follow him throughout the election for Governor,” Democratic State Committee Executive Director Saily Avelenda said. “He is just another Trenton Republican who pretended that Trump offended him when it was convenient, but who is now doing everything he can to re-elect Trump. But in this moment, it’s time to be clear whose side you’re on — Jack Ciattarelli has chosen to fully embrace Donald Trump and his disastrous record. New Jersey voters won’t forget.”

September 26, 2020: Speaker Craig Coughlin and Gubernatorial candidate Jack Ciattarelli

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