RARITAN, N.J. – Former Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli had a packed house at the John F. Kennedy School on Tuesday evening as he announced a second run for his party’s gubernatorial nomination.
The ex-2017 gubernatorial candidate (who ultimately lost a spirited nomination contest to then-Lieutenant Governor Kim Guadagno, 47% to 31%) took square aim at the Democrat incumbent in his remarks.
“Phil Murphy doesn’t get it,” Ciattarelli told his supporters. “Maybe it’s because he’s not form New Jersey. Maybe it’s because he doesn’t understand. But the bottom line is this: He’s not New Jersey.”
Prior to joining the Assembly representing the 16th Legislative District in 2012, Ciattarelli was a member of the Raritan Borough Council in the early 1990s and then later, in the late 2000s, a member of the Somerset County Board of Chosen Freeholders.
Ciattarelli is the first Republican to formally announced a 2021 run, an attempt to get a jump on his competitors well in advance of this year’s 2020 federal contests which are occupying most of the attention at present. NJGOP Chairman Doug Steinhardt and Assembly Republican Minority Leader Jon Bramnick are also expected to run in the June 2021 primary, though neither prospect is expect to announce their own campaigns until later this year. Other possible candidates include 2018 U.S. Senate nominee Bob Hugin and Ciattarelli’s old rival Guadagno.