Here’s some unfortunate news to report, Save Jerseyans:
2021 GOP nominee and 2025 gubernatorial candidate Jack Ciattarelli and his wife, Melinda, are separating.
Ciattarelli confirmed the couple’s split on Wednesday afternoon after photographs were posted by the Gloucester County GOP which featured Melinda attending an event for the “Common Sense Club,” the public arm of radio host Bill Spadea (and Ciattarelli’s top intra-party rival for 2025 nomination at present). Gloucester GOP Chairman Jacci Vigilante and Republican faction led (at least symbolically) by Ciattarelli experienced an ugly falling out over the vicious 2023 primary cycle raging in South Jersey. Vigilante (featured to Melinda’s left in the photo above and embedded below) is now a staunch ally of Spadea.
“Recent social media posts have a great many people wondering about my family and our personal lives,” said Ciattarelli in a statement. “ The sad news is that Melinda and I have separated earlier this year. I am very proud of the job we did raising our four adult children who are all very successful and whom we both love very much. While there are those who will seek to exploit this news for their own political gain – some going so far as to spread the ugliest of rumors, all of which are untrue – that says more about them than anyone else. I will continue to treat this for what it is, a personal and private family matter.”
Jack and Melinda have been married since 1995 and have four children.
The actual political impact of the Ciattarelli separation if any on the still-distant 2025 cycle remains to be seen. The end of a marriage no longer carries the stigma that it once did in the American public life; then a U.S. Senator, Jon Corzine was elected governor of New Jersey three years after his first marriage ended in divorce. The sometimes messy nature of a marriage’s public end nevertheless injects an extra level of uncertainty into what is already an extremely difficult process under even ordinary circumstances.
Melinda Ciattarelli had been a fixture of her husband’s many electoral efforts until recent months when rumors of marital troubles emerged as a regular topic of conversation in NJGOP circles. She became a minor celebrity among party faithful during her husband’s 2021 campaign when, during a debate hosted on NJ 101.5, she verbally took-down a primary rival’s political consultant who insulted her husband and children. The video went viral and her reputation as a “mama bear” helped endear many Republicans to the campaign.
Regardless of whether you’re pro-Jack, anti-Jack, or somewhere else on the spectrum of Garden State political affiliations, I hope you’ll join me in wishing the Ciattarelli family the very best as they navigate an objectively challenging passage in their lives.
UPDATE: Melinda Ciattarelli responded to our request for comment on her attendance at the luncheon. Click here.