VINELAND – A lot of people see state Senator Mike Testa (R-1) as a future governor, but for now he’s backing Republican nominee Jack Ciattarelli.
The senator – who doubles as Cumberland County Republican chairman – likes what he sees, and celebrates his ally’s frequent forays into South Jersey on the campaign trail.
“He has to show a stark contrast with the governor [in the closing days of the statewide contest],” Testa told InsiderNJ. “I’ve said it before: You don’t beat vanilla with French vanilla. You beat it with chocolate, and Jack needs to be as chocolate as possible. I thought the other night Jack showed a stark contrast. Most people don’t buy into this ultra woke-ness that Phil Murphy and the Democrats are showing. People say this is a blue state, but it’s not – it’s a purple state. A lot of people realize we’re on a fiscal cliff right now and Jack represents a stark contrast.
“If he continues to show that he has a way to win,” the senator added.
On the same week that a Stockton Poll showed incumbent Democratic Governor Phil Murphy beating Ciattarelli by nine points, Testa couldn’t resist making a crack.
“The Stockton Poll shows him nine points behind,” Testa said. “I was 14 points down 11 days prior to Election Day. By my math, Jack could be leading by 12 points. Jack needs to make Republicans and independents believe this is a winnable race. I’m a student of history, and remember, [Tom] Kean was down by 20 points in September. Jack’s within striking distance if we go by history. The Stockton poll was off by 21 points. I think people will be shocked on Election Night.”
Testa would like to hear a sharper elbowed economics attack in the closing days.
“Jacks needs to focus on the borrowing,” said the senator. “We have all these funds readily available and we should have funded the unemployment fund. Over 30% of our small businesses will never open their doors again due to the policies of the Murphy administration.”
He noted that during the pandemic, big box stores posted record quarters, while small businesses shuttered.
Testa and his mother – who is running for local office in Buena Vista – both said they are proud to run with Ciattarelli at the top of the ticket.
“He’s saying some of the right things and he gave an outstanding performance in the debate,” said the senator. “I haven’t heard a voice against Murphy from within his own party in South Jersey. They’ve been like Simon and Garfunkel – ‘The Sounds of Silence,’ while we’ve lived under one person rule for a year and a half.
“People are tired of it,” he added.
Ellen Testa agreed.
“He’s been making many, many visits to South Jersey,” she said. “He has made his presence known.”
“He’s tyrannical,” Ellen Testa said. “His form of government is awful.”