Convention season is over, Save Jerseyans, so we’ve got two (and change) months of direct appeals to New Jersey Republican primary voters in front of us.
That also means it’s time to throw elbows.
Who’s ahead? I gave you my take over here. The campaign of Asm. Jack Ciattarelli, emerging from the process with 7 of the state’s 21 available GOP lines, claims to be uniquely well-positioned to capitalize on what it views as a uniquely ‘weak’ Republican frontrunner in Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno.
The heavily-cited memo released Thursday afternoon obtained by N.J. media including Save Jersey — co-authored by chief Ciattarelli strategist Chris Russell, campaign manager Rick Rosenberg, Jr. and Harper Polling’s Brock McCleary — constructs a bleak theme that’s central to the Ciattarelli campaign’s closing primary cycle argument:
Guadagno, in their view, simply can’t win in November.
“While the Guadagno campaign touts their early lead in publicly-released GOP primary polls, a closer examination of the data reveals that Lt. Governor Guadagno is an extraordinarily weak frontrunner. According to the most recent Quinnipiac Poll, the Lt. Governor earns just 28% of the vote on the Republican Primary ballot,” the memo explains. “This means a full 72% of voters would prefer someone else or are undecided. Even worse, the more recent Fairleigh Dickinson University poll shows the Lt. Governor leading the field with just 24% of the vote, meaning a staggering 76% of Republicans are open to someone else. The Lt. Governor’s lead in both polls can be chalked up entirely to her superior name ID after 7+ years as a statewide elected official. That will change when Assemblyman Ciattarelli begins to spend money on voter contact.”
The trio insists Guadagno’s nomination in June would lead to a Democrat ‘landslide’ in November.
“Worse than being a weak frontrunner in the primary, Lt. Governor Guadagno is a near certain loser in a general election matchup against Phil Murphy – and likely by a landslide margin. The same Quinnipiac University poll cited above shows Lt. Governor Guadagno trailing Democrat Phil Murphy by a substantial 22% margin (47-25%), even though she has higher name identification than the Democrat (Murphy: 30% and Guadagno: 37%),” the memo continued.
You can read the full memorandum — including Team Ciattarelli’s alleged path to victory in June — by clicking right here.