REPORT: Ciattarelli donates to Christie ’24

They’ve never gotten along at all, Save Jerseyans, and Chris Christie outright snubbed Jack Ciattarelli in 2021.

So why did the 2021 nominee recently donate to Christie’s quixotic 2024 presidential campaign (as reported on Thursday by David Wildstein)? A move which is raising eyebrows in state GOP circles?

Couldn’t tell you. The most likely explanation: Ciattarelli is engaged in an aggressive who-can-cover-the-most-turf shadow primary at the moment with NJ 101.5 host Bill Spadea. 2025 is several political lifetimes away, but the Republican contenders are campaigning in July 2023 like it’s October 2025, attending rubber chicken dinners and cutting checks in every corner of the Garden State.

I suppose he figures a $1,000 tithe to the Christie Crew is a cheap way to neutralize him? Or even win him over? Which one wouldn’t think should be hard given Christie’s antipathy for Spadea who regularly razzed him on air.

Is it also possible that Ciattarelli, who isn’t a hardcore Trumper (many Republicans across the ideological spectrum aren’t), genuinely believes Christie’s messaging is where the GOP needs to be in 2024? Who knows.

The risk for Ciattarelli: Christie’s broad unpopularity – broader than the ex-governor’s formidable backside – extends nationally, to battleground states, and right here at home where 7 in 10 New Jersey Republicans won’t even consider voting for him.

Wildstein also reported a donation from Christie’s former lieutenant governor Kim Guadagno to her ex-boss, something that’s even more confusing given the complete lack of support Christie extended to her own ill-fated 2017 run against Phil Murphy…

Matt Rooney
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MATT ROONEY is'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.