As you know, I've been very critical of the GOP establishment in New Jersey over the past few years. The Republican Party has been in trouble for some time.

Gov. Christie talked a good game at first but then devolved into a classic two-faced politician. Along with most of the GOP insiders Christie and his cohorts conspired to raise taxes, borrow hundreds of millions, increasing our debt for vanity projects and trying to get ethics rules waived so he could profit personally from a book deal.

Now these same establishment insiders are trying to convince primary voters that former Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli is the only guy capable of winning in the fall.

Jack bombed a speech I gave to a young Republican group on Zoom to offer a rebuttal. Of course I took advantage of that opportunity to ask Jack a simple question, "will you commit to lifting all Murphy's lockdown orders on day one?" Instead of Jack answering the question, he deflected and told the group that he was winning local county conventions and would be the nominee. Wow. Typical coward politician who can't commit to fighting for real New Jerseyans who have suffered through more than 400 days of an unnecessary and deadly lockdown.

Jack was useless as a member of the Assembly and has been a part of insider politics waiting to be blessed with county boss endorsements before stepping forward to run.

He got clobbered four years ago in the primary because he is simply not an appealing candidate. Jack supports the mask mandates, even outside, and is a shill for Big Pharma, claiming in a campaign statement that he is "one step closer to hugging my 89-year-old mother."

What? Has he literally ignored the facts that those taking the vaccine can still get COVID and spread the virus? Why would Jack ignore the fact that the vaccine is designed to limit the severity of the symptoms if you get the virus? We know why. Jack is a typical shill for corporate interests and thinks that if he plays to people's fear, like the corporate media, people will like him and feed his ambition to be governor.

New Jersey can't afford another Republican willing to carry the water for the group-think, fear narrative while the state suffers so much from irresponsible, dangerous and arbitrary political decisions from Trenton.

New Jersey can't afford another politician who will pander to the mob while you suffer. He didn't even have the courage to stand up to the schools taking huge taxpayer subsidies for requiring vaccines for returning students. We know beyond any doubt that people younger than 70 are at a much lower risk than older, unhealthy people and those under the age of 20 have nearly ZERO risk from COVID.

The bottom line is that we have example after example of normal returning in states across America. With no spike in disease. No spike in hospitalizations and no public health emergency. But in New Jersey we have a government that refuses to acknowledge facts and continues to act as if we're in a crisis. This "crisis acting" is killing our economy and crushing tens of thousands of small businesses, many of which will never open again. A mental health crisis is in high gear, especially among young people. Overdose deaths are on the rise as well as a spike in calls to the suicide prevention hotline including from kids as young as 11.

The state is in a crisis. But it has nothing to do with COVID. It has everything to do with corrupt politicians in Trenton who would rather hold onto power than serve the public interest. Sadly, if the GOP nominates a has-been hack like Jack, even a victory will set our state back to where we were under Christie. We can certainly do better.

One man who has captured my attention is Phillip Rizzo. There are others in the race appearing on your ballot, too, but Rizzo is the only one who has raised significant money, more than $600,000 in a few short weeks, and the only one with a legitimate grassroots following and organization.

This is not a knock on Hirsh Singh and Brian Levine, who are also running. They're welcome to come on the show and introduce themselves to the voters and both have some good ideas to move our state out of this politician-created crisis. But for those of us who want to see New Jersey return to normal and break out of the death spiral that we've been in for the past decade, it's time for new blood.

It's time for a person who has been a success in the private sector and someone who has had the courage to stand up to the current governor. For me, that guy is Phillip Rizzo. He joined me on the show and explains why he's running and what he wants to accomplish for the rest of us. Take a listen and visit and decide for yourself if New Jersey deserves an independent minded, strong leader or if you're just gonna settle for more of the same.

The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Bill Spadea. Any opinions expressed are Bill's own. Bill Spadea is on the air weekdays from 6 to 10 a.m., talkin’ Jersey, taking your calls at 1-800-283-1015.

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