Republican State Chairman Doug Steinhardt said that he is considering a bid for the Republican nomination for governor next year, but wouldn’t allow himself to get pinned down on a timeline for making an announcement.
“Of course I’m thinking about it,” Steinhardt said during an appearance on the New Jersey Globe Power Hour on 77 WABC. “It’s clear New Jersey needs a new governor. Phil Murphy has failed.”
Steinhardt would only say that he’s focused on the 2020 election, where Republicans are looking to pick up congressional seats they lost in 2016 and 2018.
The former Lopatcong mayor has been a persistent critic of Murphy since he assumed the helm of the New Jersey GOP in 2018.
He quickly announced his opposition to a deal between Murphy and Democratic legislative leaders to restore the state’s millionaires tax and provide a middle class tax rebate to about 800,000 New Jersey families.
“It seems these days every Phil Murphy sentence has a noun, a verb and a tax increase in it,” Steinhardt said. “Trenton has become an echo chamber — borrowing money we don’t need, raising taxes that we can’t afford, no discussion on living within the states means.
“We’re headed for a budget crisis – we’re in a crisis – and in a crisis you need problem solvers, not troublemakers,” Steinhardt stated. “I think Phil Murphy has proven to be a troublemaker.”
The only announced candidate for governor so far is former Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli (R-Hillsborough), who entered the race in January. Ciattarelli finished second in the 2017 GOP gubernatorial primary, losing to Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno by a 47%-31% margin.
Assembly Minority Leader Jon Bramnick is also mulling a gubernatorial bid. Bramnick told the Globe last week that he would decide after the general election.
Joseph Rudy Rullo, who won 6.5% of the vote when he ran for governor in 2017, is mulling a second statewide run.