HOBOKEN – Phil Murphy needs to “come clean” in regard to any plans for vaccine mandates if he wins reelection, Jack Ciattarelli said Wednesday night.
Speaking at a spirited rally organized by Hoboken GOP chair Joe Branco in this heavily-Democratic city, Ciattarelli’s reference was to a much-discussed video released Monday night by Project Veritas, a right wing group. In the video, two Murphy campaign advisors are seen saying the governor would enact vaccine mandates if he wins reelection.
Murphy for the record has said no such thing.
This episode sparked another controversy over a second video showing Project Veritas associates allegedly ambushing one of the staffers in a parking garage.
Ciattarelli steered clear of the circumstances surrounding the videos, but he clearly wasn’t impressed by what Murphy has said so far about vaccine mandates. The GOP candidate said this isn’t the first time the governor may not be leveling with the people of New Jersey.
The event in a park honoring native son Frank Sinatra drew about 150 people, a representative showing on enemy terrain. Four years ago, Murphy won Hoboken over Kim Guadagno by about 10,000 to 3,000.
Ciattarelli gave his normal stump speech, but altered it a bit in a tribute to the surroundings.
With the Hudson River and the New York skyline behind him, Ciattarelli said average working people take a ferry to Manhattan while a guy like Murphy takes a helicopter.
From the night he won the Republican nomination back in June, Ciattarelli has portrayed himself as an “average guy” as opposed to someone who made millions on Wall Street.
“He’s taking us to a place that’s not New Jersey,” he said of Murphy.
Interestingly, at least two of those on hand said they were members of the Hudson County Democratic Committee.
One of them, Michael Holmes, said he’s backing Ciattarelli because he’s not pleased with Joe Biden.
That’s exactly the kind of support the GOP challenger needs.
But how much of it is out there?
Another supporter in the crowd, Ariel Kohane, said he travelled across the river – from the Upper West Side – to see Ciattarelli.
“This town is full of radical leftists,” he said contemptuously.
The rally took place hours after a Monmouth University poll showed Murphy with an 11-point lead.
Ciattarelli dismissed that survey, saying the poll sampled “registered voters” as opposed to “likely voters.”
So how does he size things up?
“This is a dead heat,” Ciattarelli said.