In less than a month you can vote for another four years of Gov. Phil Murphy or you can vote for a change.

It’s up to you.

The Republican challenger Jack Ciattarelli has made up some ground in recent polling that shows Murphy no longer has a double-digit lead.

If I had two major takeaways from the last couple of polls they would be this.

One, in my opinion, people are focused on the wrong issues. Polling shows more people trust Murphy to handle the pandemic than they trust Ciattarelli. But the same polls show more people trust Ciattarelli to handle the economy and taxes.

If you go into a voting booth next month and base your decision on the pandemic you’re making a mistake. No matter which way you feel about pandemic protocols, the pandemic is a temporary matter. In New Jersey, the economy and taxes will be long-lasting, and what we do in the next four years can set the stage for our kids, grandkids, and beyond.

Based on this alone Ciattarelli should be our next governor.

Two, I’m struck by how polls show half of voters don’t know enough about Ciattarelli. Half of voters don’t know who he is.

I think that goes beyond his resume. I think it goes beyond his serving on the local, county, and state-level most recently as a three-term New Jersey state assemblyman. My gut tells me people want to know who he is personally. The character of the man. The personality we will have to see for the next four years if we elect him.

We’ve already had Jack Ciattarelli on the show several times. We’ve talked about the serious stuff. We’ve had you call in and ask him direct questions. We’ve talked about the school funding formula. We talked about pension reform. We’ve talked about pandemic protocol and LGBTQ issues. We talked about property taxes.

So on Monday, October 11 we’re doing something quite different. Ciattarelli will be on the show Monday afternoon for the entire 5 o’clock hour and we’re just going to get to know him as a guy and not as a candidate.

What was his life like growing up in Raritan? Where did he go to school? How did he meet his wife and what did they do on their first date? What teams does he like? (Spoiler: I don’t think he’s going to be too happy with Tuesday night’s game.)

Is this a Jersey guy who’s afraid to pump his own gas? And how the hell can he eat pizza with anchovies?!

If you want to get a really good sense of who Jack Ciattarelli is beyond the candidate I strongly suggest you listen to the whole 5 o’clock hour this Monday. And if you have some fun, personal questions yourself for Jack, he doesn’t mind if you call in and ask.

The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Jeff Deminski. Any opinions expressed are Jeff Deminski's own.

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