New Jersey’s gubernatorial candidates are throwing punches over former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, after the former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations headlined a fundraiser for Jack Ciattarelli this weekend.
Haley, who served in the cabinet of former President Donald Trump, endorsed Ciattarelli last week ahead of her attendance of a fundraiser for the former assemblyman Sunday. His campaign didn’t like Democrats’ response.
“We can all agree name-calling anyone is inexcusable, and I’m calling on all county, municipal, and state-level female elected officials to stand up and ask Murphy to apologize to Ambassador Haley,” State Sen. Kristin Corrado (R-Totowa) said in a statement sent out by Ciattarelli’s campaign. “Treating women with dignity is not a partisan issue.”
The governor’s team last week sought to tie Ciattarelli and Haley to the former president, calling her “a Trump lackey” used only to boost Ciattarelli’s Trump-backing credentials.
“As Governor, Nikki Haley put special interests over working families, restricted access to women’s health care, and gutted public education,” Murphy campaign spokesman Jerrel Harvey said last week.
It’s not likely the issue will live more than a handful of days, but similar attacks could find their way to Murphy’s doorstep in the coming months.
The governor’s 2017 campaign faced questions over a hostile work environment for women after its conclusion, most prominently in the case of Katie Brennan.
Brennan accused Al Alvarez, who was in charge of Muslim and Latino outreach for the governor’s first campaign, of sexually assaulting her in April 2017. She would later volunteer for Murphy’s campaign.
Her allegation spawned months of hearings in Trenton and helped set off a slew of reforms to combat sexual misconduct in the state’s politics, though some of those policies — including one creating a division within the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission to review harassment and sexual misconduct within campaigns — won’t be in effect for this year’s races.
“Normally, New Jerseyans would expect better out of their governor, but Murphy’s track record of treating women as ‘less than’ comes as no surprise,” Ciattarelli said. “We can and will do better when I am governor. Words matter and, most of all, they are intentional. Governor Murphy owes Ambassador Haley a sincere apology.”