Ciattarelli served in the New Jersey House of Representatives from 2003-2015. He currently serves on the Board of Trustees for Walden University, as well as being a senior adviser and senior adviser to Fort Pitt Capital Group. He lives in Middletown with his wife Ruth, his two children, and his Labrador retriever named Spi
Hi Mr Ciattarelli, thanks for taking some time out of your busy schedule to answer some questions for us today. Your candidacy has caught a lot of attention in New Jersey, and you’ve attracted endorsements from Republican heavyweights like Gov. Chris Christie, State Senator Tom Kean, Jr., and Congressman Chris Smith. You’ve also picked up a $250,000 advertising loan from former Gov. Christie Whitman. How do you explain this string of endorsements to New Jerseyans who perhaps don’t know you or have only heard of you via your peers?
There is not one solid explanation. It’s not just that Christie is endorsing me, although there is that possibility. It’s that I’m a proven conservative. Christie can say the same thing. We’re the first guy in this race that has a record of advancing conservative principles. We’re the one candidate who represents a less liberal and more conservative road to the same end we all wish for — growing the economy and taking care of the taxpayers.
Donald Trump won because he was the only conservative and the only one that even had a chance. I’m the only one, I think, who has a genuine chance of becoming the next governor of New Jersey — if voters focus on who will be the best governor who will move the state forward. No one else is on the ballot.
This interview is part of a larger effort to bring more people’s perspectives to the conversation. At PolitickerNJ.com and throughout the state, we are breaking down ideas, pushing boundaries, and laying out some of the issues that New Jerseyans will weigh in on in this year’s election.
As of now, your opponent who is a registered Democrat, Phil Murphy, is dominating with a huge $10 million war chest (more than double your own amount). Will you be able to combat that with the help of all the endorsements you’ve been able to secure? If you had to guess what percentage of your own campaign funds would be spent on that battle, what do you think the numbers would be?
It’s all about matching the money. And again, I think with the endorsements I’ve had so far — a strong record of advancing conservative principles, strong record of working across the aisle in Trenton as a bipartisan House member — the money will go to zero, which will be so important. So we’ll be happy.
When you are considered the establishment candidate, Mr. Ciattarelli, where are the voters who are more ideological going to look to for a candidate that represents a more out-of-the-box point of view? How do you reach out to those voters?
As a House member, I was never the establishment choice. I was an outsider. I was not always within the folds of the Republican party. I wasn’t always getting the backing of the most conservative Republican candidate. It’s important to me to offer a choice to everybody, including people who are ideologically liberal and people who are ideologically conservative. I think what I have to offer is a more conservative vision to the state. How I’m getting there is as diverse as my life is, but I think that’s where I’m going.
Let’s talk about another name that people are just beginning to get involved with — Assemblyman Jay Webber. What do you think it is about his candidacy that drew people to him?
I just think he’s a principled person. He does what he says he’s going to do. He’s driven to do what he’s been doing for as long as he’s lived in the state — make it a better place. He believes in small government, and he believes in conservative principles. I think people like that. If they’re looking for somebody who’s conservative and who can be elected governor, then he fits that bill.