Jack Ciattarelli with Ramesh C. Pandey at a GOP get-out-the-vote rally in Medford on Oct. 19, 2021. (Daniella Heminghaus for New Jersey Monitor)
GOP gubernatorial hopeful Jack Ciattarelli called on supporters to help get out the vote at a packed Republican rally Tuesday in Medford, where he was joined by Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel.
“We can win this race. Do not let anybody stay home because they think it’s rigged,” urged Ciattarelli, who has trailed Gov. Phil Murphy in public polling.
Ciattarelli arrived almost an hour late to the afternoon rally inside the Burlington County Republican Party’s headquarters at the Pineland Plaza strip mall, where a crowd clothed in red, white, and blue greeted him with chants of “We back Jack!”
In a 10-minute talk, Ciattarelli bashed Murphy — as he has in two gubernatorial debates and other campaign stops around the state — for the state’s high property taxes and unemployment rate and a coronavirus response that resulted in widespread business closures and nearly 28,000 dead.
A former assemblyman, Ciattarelli vowed to shrink a government that’s “bloated, inefficient, and corrupted by special interests.” And he pledged to “get back to the basics” in education, leaving “other matters” to the kitchen table — referencing his oft-repeated objections to recently mandated curriculum requiring schools to teach about the historical and societal contributions of the LBGTQ community.
Ciattarelli also vowed to implement a Voter ID law if elected, a stark contrast to Murphy, who has touted his administration’s moves to expand voter access.
With Ciattarelli’s running mate, former state Sen. Diane Allen, and a who’s who of other state and local GOP leaders looking on, McDaniel called on the crowd to help Ciattarelli win.
“I’m from a state that everybody thought was blue, and we turned it red. You can do it too,” said McDaniel. “In two weeks, you need to look like crap. I want to see bags under your eyes, I want to see you’ve all lost weight, because you’ve worked from now until Nov. 2 to make sure New Jersey has a new governor.”
McDaniel is from Democratic stronghold Michigan, where her grandfather, George Romney, was governor in the 1960s and where Republican Donald Trump won a surprise victory in 2016 (Trump lost it to President Biden last year).
Tuesday’s rally was one of many Ciattarelli and Murphy have hosted around the state, with the election just two weeks away. Barack Obama will visit Newark Saturday to stump beside Murphy at a get-out-the-vote rally for Democrats.
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