UPDATE: Melinda Ciattarelli explains her appearance at a Spadea event

When I learned Jack Ciattarelli planned to publicly confirm that he and his wife Melinda has separated, Save Jerseyans, I decided to reach out to Mrs. Ciattarelli about the event that catalyzed her husband’s announcement: her attendance at a women’s luncheon organized by chief 2025 Ciattarelli primary rival Bill Spadea.

Melinda obviously deserves the opportunity to participate in the story. I also suspected she might want to say something about all of this. She’s no stranger to politics after many years on the trail, and she undoubtedly knew her attendance at an event organized by Spadea would raise eyebrows and eventually become news.

On Wednesday, Mrs. Ciattarelli reached back out to me and declined to criticize her husband (as some might have expected); instead, she cited her apparent collaboration with former Montgomery GOP Municipal Chair Rosy Thakkar to promote female GOP leaders.

“Women are the backbone of the family, and we are confidant that women will provide the strength that our Nation needs,” Ciattarelli told Save Jersey. “We were there to support the women leaders on behalf of the new foundation that Rosy Thakkar and I are building. This is an effort to show that we have to keep our differences aside and unite communities together. Our approach is not to segregate, but to build a stronger nation.”

Jack Ciattarelli’s own Wednesday statement directly addressed the separation but blanketly dismissed rumors of a dramatic backstory for the couple’s split.

“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,” the 2021 gubernatorial nominee explained. “I will continue to treat this for what it is, a personal and private family matter.”

Whether the political establishment obliges might be a different story. Rightly or wrongly, a candidate and his family’s ability to partition their private and public lives degrades when exposed to the limelight, and few niceties are honored in the realm of high-stakes political combat. For now, however, both Ciattarellis – who share four children – are keeping any details of their marital discord out of their public comments.

Matt Rooney
About Matt Rooney 8496 Articles
MATT ROONEY is SaveJersey.com's founder and editor-in-chief, a practicing New Jersey attorney, and the host of 'The Matt Rooney Show' on 1210 WPHT every Sunday evening from 7-10PM EST.