New Jersey Right to Life has recommended Jack Ciattarelli for governor and endorsed Michael Pappas for State Senate in the 16th district, their only endorsement of a legislative candidate in a competitive district.
“NJRTL cannot endorse Ciattarelli because of his support for abortion,” said Marie Tasy, the group’s executive director. “While Ciattarelli has explicitly indicated that he would codify Roe V Wade in NJ law and has said that he ‘supports a woman’s right to choose’, NJRTL nevertheless reluctantly, and merely, recommends him over Phil Murphy.”
Tasy said her group did not endorse Ciattarelli, but recommended him based on his “stated opposition” to the Reproductive Freedom Act “and support for some common sense regulations.”
NJRTL cannot endorse Ciattarelli because of his support for abortion. While Ciattarelli has explicitly indicated that he would codify Roe V Wade in NJ law and has said that he ‘supports a woman’s right to choose’, NJRTL nevertheless reluctantly, and merely, recommends him over Phil Murphy.
The group is not taking sides in the 2nd and 8th districts, where both sides are engaged in potentially tight battles for Senate and Assembly and did not endorse Assembly candidates running with Pappas in the 16th.
All endorsements went to Republican incumbents and challengers, including candidates in unwinnable races, like a recommending Christopher Auriemma’s bid to unseat Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee Chairman Paul Sarlo.
Among candidates seeking GOP legislative leadership posts, the longtime anti-abortion grassroots organization endorsed State Sens. Steven Oroho (R-Franklin) and Joseph Pennacchio (R-Montville), and Assemblyman Brian Bergen (R-Denville). New Jersey Right to Life is among a group of activists seeking to derail a bid by Nancy Munoz (R-Summit), a pro-choice Republican, to become Assembly Minority Leader.
New Jersey Right to Life also endorsed Edward Durfee, the North Jersey leader of the Oath Keepers, a far right anti-government militia organization that has been implicated in the events at the U.S. Capitol on January 6. WNYC reported that Durfee worked a security detail outside the U.S. Capitol that day.
Durfee is running in Bergen County’s 37th district, which has never elected a Republican to the legislature. The last GOP victory in that part of Bergen County came in 1971.
In addition, endorsements went to State Sens. Michael Testa (R-Vineland), Christopher Connors (R-Lacey), Michael Doherty (R-Oxford), and Anthony Bucco (R-Boonton).
Pappas has been a strong opponent of abortion for his entire political career, including his term in the U.S. House of Representatives in the 1990s. He faces Assemblyman Andrew Zwicker (D-South Brunswick) for the open seat of Christopher Bateman (R-Branchburg), who is retiring this year after 14 years in the Senate and 14 in the Assembly.
Editor’s note: an earlier version of this story stated that New Jersey Right to Life has endorsed Ciattarelli. They have recommended his election.