The Democratic State Committee spent little time waiting before launching an attack at Republican State Chairman Doug Steinhardt following the announcement of his gubernatorial campaign.
“In a Republican Primary contest to see who can be the Trumpiest, Doug Steinhardt enters the race for Governor as a brazen defender of Donald Trump and his failed record in New Jersey politics,” DSC Executive Director Saily Avelenda said. “The fact that Steinhardt’s race will be led by Trump’s campaign manager Bill Stepien, someone who has personally directed the President’s assault on American democracy itself, should tell voters everything they need to know about him.”
The Republican chair launched his campaign Tuesday after months of mulling a bid. He joins two other Republicans who’ve already made formal their intent to oust Gov. Phil Murphy.
Former Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli (R-Hillsborough) was the first to launch his campaign. Perennial candidate Hirsh Singh was the second.
Steinhardt comes to the race with some advantages. For one, he’s been a ubiquitous presence at Republican events since taking control of the state party, though he’ll soon step down from his role as leader of the state GOP.
He also has an extremely experienced campaign manager at his back. Stepien managed both of former Gov. Chris Christie’s gubernatorial campaigns. He was also brought on to manage the closing months of President Donald Trump’s re-election campaign.
But Democrats are already honing in on the candidate’s ties — and his general regard — for the outgoing president.
“The truth is New Jersey voted overwhelmingly last month to defeat Trump and reject his brand of corrupt, dishonest politics, and we will never allow one of our state’s biggest Trump supporters to become Governor,” Avelenda said.