A top ally of Republican State Chairman Doug Steinhardt formed a super PAC Monday, delivering the clearest signal of the party leader’s gubernatorial ambitions to date.
Lead Right New Jersey, named for one of Steinhardt’s favorite sayings, waws formally created on Monday. It’s since made a $20,897.61 independent expenditure boosting State Senate Minority Leader Tom Kean’s (R-Westfield) campaign against Rep. Tom Malinowski (D-Ringoes).
Warren County freeholder candidate Lori Ciesla, who is a councilwoman in Steinhardt’s home town of Lopatcong, serves as the group’s treasurer and custodian of records.
In January, the PAC announced Bill Stepien, then White House political director and who is now President Donald Trump’s campaign manager, would sit on the organization’s board alongside Ciesla, Michael Testa, Jr. (R-Vineland), former Assemblywoman Donna Simon (R-Readington) and IBEW Local 102 business manager Pat Delle Cava.
Steinhardt is one of three prominent Republicans mulling a challenge to Gov. Phil Murphy.
Former Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli has already launched his bid, while Assembly Minority Leader Jon Bramnick (R-Westfield) has publicly flirted with a run.