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    'It's time': Republican Jack Ciattarelli enters 2025 NJ race for governor

    By Katie Sobko,,


    In a move that’s been years in the making, Jack Ciattarelli officially announced Tuesday evening that he will seek the Republican gubernatorial nomination next year.

    “It’s time for a Jersey guy who understands what people are up against every day,” he said before a standing-room-only crowd at the American Hotel in Freehold. “It’s time for a commonsense problem solver, a chief executive officer, a hands-on CEO who knows exactly what needs to be done and is willing to do it.”

    “I think I know a guy,” Ciattarelli said before “very humbly” declaring his candidacy.

    His speech hit all of the talking points of the current political landscape, including taxes, school curriculum and supporting “police and parents.”

    Ciattarelli, 62, also said he plans to “fight like hell” for a constitutional amendment on term limits for state lawmakers.

    The three-time candidate said Republicans need to win not only the governor’s race but more seats in the Legislature in 2025. Both chambers have Democratic majorities.

    He also took a shot at his opponent, state Sen. Jon Bramnick — a Never Trumper by saying the party needs a candidate to unite the party as opposed to someone who “calls [Donald] Trump supporters ‘crazies.’”

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    Ciattarelli’s announcement included a trip down memory lane, to his narrow loss in November 2021 and the state of the Republican Party at that time.

    “In all 21 counties and 564 towns, we almost pulled it off,” he said.

    Ciattarelli told reporters after his speech that he is "by nature a retail politician," that "no one is going to outwork" him and that residents of New Jersey are "salt-of-the-earth people" who "like it when you show up."

    He said he's not concerned about turning away pivotal swing voters by endorsing Trump, because he endorsed the former president last time and he thinks his campaign did "extremely well last time, despite the fact that something got in the way of our retail operation, and that's what we call the pandemic."

    “There’s no pandemic this time. I believe we can pick up the two or three points we need to deliver,” Ciattarelli said.

    After losing to Gov. Phil Murphy in 2021, the Republican said he would run again. He lost in the 2017 primary to former Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno.

    Ciattarelli, a Raritan resident, has spent decades in politics and served in the state Assembly and in county and local government.

    Though he initially called Trump a "charlatan" in 2015, he later endorsed Trump and in 2020 spoke at a "Stop the Steal" rally promoting the false conspiracy that voter fraud put Democrat Joe Biden in office, though Ciattarelli has not publicly endorsed it.

    The primary is more than a year away, but the race is starting to fill up on both sides of the aisle. Ciattarelli will square off with Bramnick, and on the Democratic side, former state Sen. Steve Sweeney , Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop and Newark Mayor Ras Baraka are all vying for the nomination.

    This article originally appeared on 'It's time': Republican Jack Ciattarelli enters 2025 NJ race for governor

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