After Ciattarelli’s loss, his 2021 rivals also eye another run
TRENTON – Jack Ciattarelli probably won’t be the only Republican who ran for governor in 2021 to reprise the role in 2025.
When Ciattarelli conceded his 3-point loss in the governor’s race last Friday, he told reporters he plans to run again in four years, when the seat will be open as Gov. Phil Murphy is constitutionally limited from seeking a third consecutive term.
But despite Ciattarelli’s better-than-expected showing, he’d be unlikely to clear the field.
Phil Rizzo, who finished second in the June primary with 26% of the vote to Ciattarelli’s 49%, said on Twitter within hours of Ciattarelli’s concession to expect “a spirited 2025 primary.”
“While the dust has hardly settled from the 2021 Gubernatorial Race, there is already talk regarding 2025,” Rizzo said. “I think New Jerseyans should prepare themselves for a spirited 2025 primary. Grassroots voters won’t allow themselves to be told who their nominee will be again.”
The candidate who finished third in the primary, Hirsh Singh, who received 22% of the vote, didn’t say he’ll run again but said Murphy’s win over Ciattarelli shows that more moderate Republicans need to give way.
“Chris Christie’s hand-picked moderate Republican candidate for Governor Jack Ciatterelli has conceded,” Singh wrote, misspelling Ciattarelli’s name. “Conservative South Jersey delivered the Republican vote. I and other conservatives of especially Atlantic and Ocean Counties delivered, leading to a Red Wave and victories across the state. Chris Christie, Ciatterelli, and their moderates could not win in their own home counties."
Christie, for what it’s worth, was not on the ballot.
“We always knew Jack would lose but I held my tongue in the interest of the party,” Singh said. “It is time for the moderates to hand over the Reins to us Conservatives and take the back seat and support us just like we conservatives supported their candidates in the interest of Party Unity. This is the only way to save the NJ Republican Party.”
Republicans did net a gain of seven seats in the Legislature, including six seats in the Assembly and one in the Senate.
Michael Symons is State House bureau chief for New Jersey 101.5. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.