Ciattarelli Moves and Grooves at Bucco Bash

MOUNT ARLINGTON – As he maneuvered around the crowded bar, Jack Ciattarelli could only observe:

“This is the best Republican party in the state.”

About 450 people jammed into Pub 199, a legendary outpost on Howard Boulevard in this small Morris County borough, likely would have concurred.

The event Wednesday night was state Sen. Anthony M. Bucco’s annual lobster bake.

The “usual suspects” were there, meaning GOP officials and supporters from throughout his 25th District.

But there were many others on hand as well. That included such trade groups as the pipefitters

Senator Bucco.

and bricklayers, representatives of the Kingtown Truck Stop in Roxbury and also a contingent from the Non-Commissioned Officers Association of the State Troopers.

As Daniel Oliveira, the president of the troopers’ group, put it, the senator is always accessible, which in some ways is the best compliment one can give an elected official.

The senator’s late father, Anthony R. Bucco, began the lobster fest years ago, but it has grown over time. The event used to be confined to one room in the bar, but now occupies the entire establishment.

The specialties of the house are steak, shrimp, clams and, of course, lobster. And don’t forget a dizzying amount of stuffed fish and animal heads hanging on the walls – mostly deer, but there are also more exotic creatures, including a giraffe head and a stuffed mountain lion. Go figure.

In a departure from your customary political event, Bucco didn’t make a speech. Saying he was “humbled” by the turnout, the senator spent his time walking around and greeting his guests.

One supporter attributed the crowd to the fact this is an election year and that Bucco is the type of politician who people like. Or as he put it, “He doesn’t do anything to get people mad at him.”

The 25th District, like all districts, has been redrawn. It has moved east and north, picking up West Milford in Passaic County, but losing parts of western Morris, including Roxbury. The district is more politically competitive than nearby Districts 24 and 26, but it still leans Republican. Bucco already has a Democratic opponent, Christine Clarke of Jefferson.

Both of Bucco’s Assembly partners, Aura Dunn and Christian Barranco, were on hand. Barranco now represents LD-26, but is running in LD-25 under the new map.

Things are going well, Barranco said, noting that he, Dunn and Bucco agree 90 percent of the time. You probably can’t do much better than that. As of now, no Democratic Assembly candidates in the district have surfaced.

With so many Republican activists in one place imbibing and chowing down, it was the perfect time to get signatures on nominating petitions.

Paul DeGroot took full advantage, walking around with a petition and a clipboard. But what’s he running for? The Assembly in LD-26 or county commissioner?

He was not specific, saying only that he was “still testing the waters.”

As for Ciattarelli, he already has said he’s running for governor again in 2025, which is now a mere two years away.

“I said it would be here before you know it,” he said in a brief conversation.

Ciatterelli said he assumes more Republicans will run for governor in two years, but as of now he’s concentrating on this year’s legislative election. He said he thinks Republicans have an “outside chance” of taking control of at least one of the two houses in Trenton.

But he can’t forget how close he came to upsetting Phil Murphy two years ago. He lost by about three percentage points, but for a time on Election Night, he was ahead. .

As he told a table of supporters Wednesday night, “I was governor for six hours.”

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2 responses to “Ciattarelli Moves and Grooves at Bucco Bash”

  1. I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again.

    Republicans imbibing and chowing down, preaching to the choir. Seemingly no plan to defeat Democrats. No outreach to Democrats in efforts to convey ideas.

    Complaining about Democrats in power will not persuade voters to vote Republican. Ideas, platforms must be elaborated upon.

    This should not wait until just prior to elections. Republicans need to be vocal at all times. They must try to educate the low information voter voters and the registered Democrat voters, every day and every minute.

    Stop the infighting, the backstabbing, etc and get aggressive.

  2. A Republican “party”???? That’s all they seem to do in New Jersey. Where are the platforms on reducing property taxes by de-coupling education taxes and paying education taxes through sales and income taxes??? Where are the Republicans to block the offshore wind turbine farms being pushed by Orsted, a non-American Danish company hell bent on putting ridiculous wind turbines in the ocean to upset the fisheries and probably the whale migration pathways??? What about stopping New Jersey as a sanctuary state and paying illegal aliens $4 BILLION DOLLARS/year through taxpayers monies being stolen under the guise of welfare, education, medical, housing expenses, stolen food stamps, etc., while they only contribute about $200 MILLION DOLLARS/yr. in tax revenue???

    Where is the Republican platform on cutting the massive spending of Democrats by at least 50% to get back to normalcy, so taxpayers don’t have to suffer??? The state budget was $29 BILLION DOLLARS when Gov. Christie left office 6 years ago. It’s now almost doubled to $53 BILLION DOLLARS!!!!!! Where does all of this money go. You can’t tell me inflation rose that fast.
    The money is being stolen from us by a corrupt Democrat-Socialist machine controlling the Trenton Legislature and Gov’s office. A good portion of that money has gone back into the DNC and New Jersey Democrat Party. This is NOT what tax monies are to be used for. It’s called TAX FRAUD and RACKETEERING by Democrats.

    What about Murphy’s borrowing of $10 BILLION DOLLARS from Wall Street during the pandemic, which he has unequivocally said he’s not going to pay back??? Who’s going to pay that??? We know. Taxpayers!!!!!

    Where are the Republicans speaking out on these issues and making a stink about it????? I don’t hear anything. I’ve lived in this state for over 60 years and Republicans used to be good. Now, we don’t hear a peep from them. It’s time now to put up or shut up, and stop having “parties”, or more of us will be leaving New Jersey for no tax states and pro-Liberty states.

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