Debate Wins and Losses: Murphy Versus Ciattarelli


No, it wasn’t a baseball game, although Jack Ciattarelli did make a crack about Phil Murphy rooting for the Red Sox.

Still, in the sporting tradition, let’s take a look at some of the wins and losses for each candidate in tonight’s debate.

A win for Murphy:

“You claim to be Mr. Law and Order. You have no endorsements from law enforcement.”

This was a hard right to Ciattarelli’s jaw.

A common Republican point these days is that Democrats support “defunding the police,” and therefore, are indifferent to public safety.

But as the governor noted, he’s been endorsed by two police unions and Ciattarelli has been endorsed by none.

Ciattarelli’s comeback was that “local police” are not endorsing Murphy. Fair point, but no police endorsements are no police endorsements.

This issue, however, also led to a loss for Murphy.

Reaching back to Ciattarelli’s days as a Somerset County freeholder, the governor said the Republican supported actions that led to the elimination of 10 jobs in the county sheriff’s office. There was no context offered, so unless you were there, you had no idea what this was about. Not persuasive at all.

A win for Ciattarelli:

“You never hear him talking about property taxes.”

The GOP challenger was right about that. Murphy has not talked about, or addressed, property taxes head on. Nothing about that is easy, but when people in New Jersey complain about high taxes, more times than not, their gripe is a property tax bill of $12,000 or more. The issue does deserve more attention.

Ciattarelli has spent a good part of the campaign – and has run ads – attacking Murphy for saying that if taxes are your main issue, New Jersey is not your state.

When those comments popped up tonight, Murphy tried to diffuse things by saying that under Ciattarelli, New Jersey won’t be a state for you unless you are a corporate CEO. Or something like that. His defense made no sense.

Call that another loss for Murphy.

Ciattarelli struggled at times to defend himself from Murphy’s attacks.

On that score, here are two losses for Ciattarelli.

Early in the debate, the Republican was asked about his comments that children are unlikely to catch COVID. This had to do with Ciattarelli’s opposition to a school mask mandate.

Apparently realizing this was an untenable position,  he said, “Maybe I could have said that more perfect.” Ouch.

And then there was Ciattarelli’s attendance at a Donald Trump-inspired “Stop the Steal” rally in Bedminster after the election.

Murphy has run TV commercials showing Ciattarelli speaking with a “Stop the Steal” sign behind him.

The Republican a bit lamely defended himself by saying he was told that the rally was about the 2021 election, not the 2020 election. Since it occurred three weeks after the 2020 vote and on Trump’s home turf, that explanation seemed a bit dubious.

Other observations.

It’s always nice to see humor in debates and Murphy tried to interject some.

Ciattarelli likes saying that such touchy subjects as explicit sex education should be addressed not in the classroom, but around the kitchen table.

That prompted Murphy to say there must be “a lot going on” in Ciattarelli’s kitchen.

Not amused, the challenger shot back, “Isn’t that the job of the parent?”

As the debate was winding down, Ciattarelli made some news.

It had to do with pot.

Voters endorsed legalizing recreational marijuana last year by about 2-1.

“This did not belong on the ballot,” Ciattarelli said, adding that he backs decriminalization, not legalization.

Murphy, a bit surprised, pointed out the margin of victory for legalization.

“I think they have buyer’s remorse,” Ciattarelli speculated.

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  • PEM59

    Is there somewhere that you can find a transcript?

    I can find videos all over the place, but not a transcript.

  • Kathleen Demarest

    Fred Snowflack, I might think that you ‘walk on water’ for writing
    informative, interesting, balanced columns for InsiderNJ readers,
    BUT……… you are wrong when you state that property taxes
    are a loss for Governor Murphy.
    For decades, literally decades, I have heard candidates state that
    they will lower my real estate taxes and eliminate bloat In state government.
    At age 90, I am still waiting and just tune out to that kind of rhetoric.

    ALSO……Property taxes are high, but we receive quality services
    for our tax money. We are fortunate to have excellent schools, outstanding
    libraries, great police and fire departments, wonderful parks, good
    healthcare, and the list goes on and on.
    As the saying goes….. YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR!


      You’re 90 years old and I don’t think you live in NJ. You live in fantasy land. The fact that most seniors can afford to live here with their house paid off is appalling. This guy just keeps raising taxes. Gas tax! Rain tax! More property taxes!!! Doesn’t want to tell you that to make your house go green is going to cost you about 50k.

      When is enough, enough?

      • Kathleen Demarest

        If you, Sir, for one second, think that Jack Ciattarelli is going to
        lower real estate taxes, you are indeed living in a fantasy land along
        with me. I have heard that decade after decade and have yet to
        see my property taxes lowered.

        • CFIORELLO

          He told you how he was going to do it too. He didn’t just say it. Let’s gets nuts here and say he didn’t. But he removed the rain tax, gas tax, and funded public schools properly I’d say that’s a pretty big win.

          Under Murphy’s law he will be raising property taxes at what point is enough, enough?

          We went to war with Britain for a lot less.

          When you’re house HAS to go green. That will cost 30-50k how do you think that’s going to get paid?

          This guy isn’t going to be happy until he has seniors living off cat food.

          He had 4 years and has done nothing. NOTHING. Not even an original thought.

          He follows the other governors lead. (Cuomo) you’re better than that. Don’t be duped.

        • CFIORELLO

          So, you’re logic is to vote for the guy who is going to raise your property taxes???? And add new taxes?? What a scholar!!!

      • Jeani

        BULLSH-T. Utter NONSENSE!

        • CFIORELLO

          He has nowhere near a25point lead and it’s almost scary that you vote for a party rather than an actual message. The Governor has done nothing for you and has no accomplishments in 4 years. That’s a fact.

          Accomplishments aren’t coming up with a gas tax and a rain tax or raising your property taxes or forcing you to make a 50k green Investment on your home.

    • Jeani

      EXACTLY! The smartest thing I have seen written here so far today! : )

  • Robert Knapp

    I carefully viewed the debate last evening, it was no evident that Catarelli failed to respond to many of the questions from the moderators and went off on his own with the obvious attempt to evade responses that he knew he would not prevail on.

    And for the record, the Governor does have endorsements from law enforcement and many, many of the labor unions in the state.

    I am working 24/7 for the re election of our Governor Murphy!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Bob Knapp, Jersey City

  • Robert Knapp

    And for the record, Cateralli has NO ENDORSEMENTS FROM POLICE DEPARTMENTS.

    Bob Knapp


      He’ll get the Fraternal Order of Police they have a brain in their heads.

  • GruffLiberal

    Wow, Republican politicians really do resent the voting public. What an obnoxious know-nothing this Ciattarelli is. The voters of New Jersey, during a Presidential election (so turnout was high and representative of the state), decided by a 2 to 1 margin to legalize marijuana, yet he thinks we’re too stupid to make that decision. It “didn’t belong on the ballot.” Or, in other words, regular people are morons who should be lorded over by political hacks. Murphy may be rich (something I don’t like), but Ciattarelli is the one that’s out-of-touch.


      Murphy has left low level marijuana offenders in jail. It’s you living under a rock.

      How many more taxes would you like? Gas tax? Rain tax? Higher property taxes? Maybe stay off the marijuana you sound like a lazy putz.

      • Jeani

        That is a lie.

        • CFIORELLO

          He has not let marijuana offenders out of jail. He expunged records of people who have already served time.

          The Governor doesn’t keep you safe from covid. That’s what a vaccine does. That vaccine was developed under the Trump administration.

          Fascist ? You mean like making people take a vaccine they don’t need or want.

          Like saying kids need the vaccine yet 85% of the deaths are people over 65 or people in poor health or obese?

          Like firing doctors or medical professionals after they’ve been treating patients for a year without a vaccine.

          It’s you who is the fascist

  • I went into this open minded, and I left still unsure of who gets my vote. I didn’t know much about Jack, and I tuned in to see who he was, how he communicates, etc. I didn’t hear a lot of facts backing up what he said – it did seem like there were a lot of questions and there wasn’t enough time to get deeply into topics. But, I really wanted to hear was each person’s take on the issue and their solution, and I didn’t get that. For instance, when Jack talked about diversity in the police force, rather than just saying he would look at statistics, I would have been interested in what statistics he knows, his take on that, and how he might address anything that he felt needed to be improved. Another thing discussed was what kids are learning in schools – I thought he was a little flippant with his response, and if he had instead said, “Look, we are going to address sex ed from a strictly reproductive standpoint at grade 6” – that would have been fine with me, and told me what he did intend to do – again, not just rhetoric, but a plan for what he considers improvement. Murphy – we know enough about him, because he’s been doing the job. Not a very helpful debate for me – I’m still squarely in the middle.


      Maybe you missed part of it. He wanted to bring back and add to the curriculum courses like civics for starters and courses that apply to the real world. He had 60 seconds. Sheesh.

      I’m not sure how you could support this no accomplishment Governor.

      He’s responsible for tens of thousands leaving the state.

      He’s responsible for nursing home deaths.

      1/3 of small businesses are gone thanks to our wonderful governor.

      He’s done nothing he said he would and takes no accountability.

      Everything is someone else’s fault.

      This is baffling to me how anyone can think this guy is productive or efficient.

      His green initiative is going to cost YOU 30-50k

  • Unbelievable

    You let Murphy back in he’s going to go Soviet style with covid and vaccine mandates. passports etc.

    • Morrison2525

      Boy, the way Glenn Miller played
      songs that made the hit parade
      Paralysis and death from polio in its most severe forms
      Those were the days

    • Jeani

      GOOD! You should be happy! You like Russia controlling our leaders like the way Vlad controlled TRUMP the fascist thieving disaster!


        Vlad controlled Trump? LOL. Please make sure to where your tinfoil hat when walking around.

        Make sure to thank Biden for selling half the country to China.

  • Morrison2525

    For two gubernatorial debates, flood the zone with horse race coverage. For the next several decades, flood the state if a candidate with no apparent interest in climate action is elected.

    • Morrison2525

      Comment’s been up for a while and from no one: “Is the candidate with no apparent interest in climate action Murphy or Ciattarelli? If you mean
      Ciattarelli, how’s why you’re wrong about him.”

  • Oopie

    Like to hear how small businesses were destroyed by the Murphy administration by keeping them closed for too long during covid. About one-third. NJ needs high paying quality employers, not socialism and killer taxation.

    • james sessions

      Probably should have reached out to the then President who allowed a pandemic to flourish in the U.S.


        Really? How did he do that? You have a vaccine in less than a year LOL. Oh you’re one of those people that think that wrapping a sock around your face stops a virus. SMH

    • Jeani

      You don’t know WHAT you are talking about.

  • Robert Knapp

    In both debates Ciatarelli did not respond to the questions asked by the moderators and would use the time allotted to respond to further his critical comments of Murphy.

    The crowd last night, October 12th in the audience in favor of Ciatarelli were rude, interfering with the debate and Ciatarelli did nothing to quell the savages.

    I am working 24/7 until the polls close on November 2nd for our great Governor Phil Murphy!!

    Bob Knapp


      You’re kidding right? Murphy side stepped and stuttered through every question. Name 4 things this administration has done in 4 years?

      Raising taxes
      Shutting businesses
      Taking away your right to choose
      No charter schools in inner cities.

      These are not accomplishments

      The guy has legal marijuana and gambling and entertaining and still can’t reduce taxes.

      What a joke!!!

    • Jeani

      Me too!


      Yeah, jack should’ve ran into the crowd and taped their mouths shut. SMH you’re a delusional clown.

      Not sure what you think is great ? Higher property taxes?

      The guy has no accomplishments in 4 years except fir killing 8500 seniors. Looking at this thread he missed a couple that probably should’ve gone.

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