Republican gubernatorial candidate Doug Steinhardt against launched an attack over Gov. Phil Murphy’s handling of the pandemic, this time targeting $94 million in grants meant to expand the state’s testing capacity rescinded by the New Jersey Department of Health.
Politico New Jersey on Tuesday reported state health officials pulled the grants after discovering some hospitals and health systems asked for and received clarification on the application process.
The rewards were pulled because that clarification may have tainted the application process.
“While Phil Murphy continues to drop oppressive executive regulations on our State, his top Department of Health official keeps dropping the ball,” Steinhardt said. “Families, businesses, students and seniors are all paying for the Governor’s failures. The situation demands transparency and accountability, but Phil Murphy denies both.”
The incident caused Steinhardt to renew a call for Murphy to push Health Commissioner Judy Persichilli out of his administration.
He first made a call for her resignation after the department came under fire for missing a federal deadline that would have allowed the state to start vaccinating long-term care center residents on Dec. 21 instead of Dec. 28.
Murphy and Persichilli said that process was complicated by inaccurate data provided by the federal government on the number of vaccine doses new Jersey was to receive and by an increased workload stemming from long-term care centers who lacked the ability to input their own data into a federal system.
“Why does Phil Murphy still employ Judith Persichilli?” Steinhardt said. “The time for deflecting is past. We demand answers.”