It’s early, but Ciattarelli says he’ll run against Murphy in 2021

By The Staff


The New Jersey political universe is focused on 2018 this sunny Tuesday afternoon, but former N.J. GOP gubernatorial primary candidate Jack Ciattarelli is making 2021 noise.

After declining to seek reelection to the Assembly in 2017 in order to run for governor, the Somerset County businessman and former LD16 legislator reportedly informed The Associated Press that “if asked today, I’m running.”

Ciattarelli lost a particularly bitter 2017 Republican primary to former Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno who ultimately fell to Democrat Phil Murphy in the general election.

Guadagno’s win resulted in a party establishment split between Central Jersey Republican organizations aligned with Ciattarelli and the rest of the state’s institutional GOP which remained loyal to Chris Christie’s second in command.

He may not find a clear road to the nomination in three years’ time even though it’s far too early to know with any degree of accuracy. Other frequently mentioned GOP challengers for 2021 include Congressman Tom MacArthur, State Senator Tom Kean Jr., and Monmouth County Sheriff Shaun Golden.