WAYNE – Jack Ciattarelli is always upbeat.
“I can’t tell you how great the energy is up and down the state,” the Republican said today as he greeted a hundred or so supporters at an early vote rally outside township hall.
Some of the faithful held “Jack” signs along busy Valley Road to passing motorists, a number of whom honked their horns in response.
The truck horns, naturally, were the most audible.
“We got the truckers,” said one supporter.
A Monmouth University poll today showed Ciattarelli trailing Phil Murphy by 11 points. A poll last week by Emerson College had the race only 6 points apart. When Ciattarelli arrived at the event at 10:16 a.m., the Monmouth poll hadn’t come out yet.
Still, you get the impression Ciattarelli would have shrugged it off.
In a state where Democrats outnumber Republicans by more than a million, Ciattarelli knows what he’s up against.
So, he’s cramming as many public events as seemingly possible into the last week before Nov. 2.
A diner in Cranford, an Italian-American society in Vineland, a tavern in Cape May, a ball field in Denville.
Those are just some of the places Ciattarelli has stopped since Sunday to interact with voters. After Wayne, he planned to spend the afternoon in Mahwah and Rutherford before heading to Hoboken for a Get-Out-The-Vote rally.
Hoboken? Well yes. Ciattarelli likes to say he goes where Republicans seldom go and a rally in Hudson County proves it.
These events are designed to spur voting. They are not forums for policy pronouncements.
As such, Ciattarelli sticks to GOP talking points about his opposition to vaccine mandates and his desire to trim the cost of government.
Regarding the state’s $46 billion budget, Ciattarelli said, “It’s bloated, it’s inefficient and it’s been corrupted by special interests.”
Republican Mayor Chris Vergano introduced Ciattarelli as someone who would bring things in New Jersey “back to normal.”