Is this the Message the Ciattarelli Campaign Really Wants to Send Out?

By Fred Snowflack | August 11, 2021

Insider NJ


When Jack Ciattarelli picked Diane Allen as his candidate for lieutenant governor, the campaign was quick to point out that even some Democrats had said nice things about her.

One of those was Phil Murphy himself who praised Allen for working across the aisle.

This, of course, is what you are supposed to do, but Ciattarelli’s choice caused some muttering among state right-wingers. In fact, I saw one blog post that suggested Ciattarelli should have selected Phil Rizzo or Hirsh Singh, the Trump-backers who lost to Ciattarelli in the GOP primary, as lieutenant governor candidate.

Good God. That would have been a great way to truly lose the election in August. How can anyone think a Trump connection is going to do any good in New Jersey, a state Donald Trump lost badly twice?

So the team was Jack and Diane and there’s even a song to go along.

But within days after the centrist Allen was anointed, questions were raised about what she really thinks.

In an interview with the New Jersey Globe Power Hour, Allen drifted into migrants coming into the U.S. from Mexico, which is not necessarily a New Jersey issue.

Repeating a recent conservative talking point, Allen said there are people coming across the border with Covid “and it scares me.”

She added, “They’re put on buses. I suspect some of them are coming up to New Jersey – not a good idea.”

Things get complicated very quickly when you deal with the southern border. But by just about all accounts, many migrants from Mexico are tested for the virus upon arrival.

Obviously, some who test “positive” may not follow quarantine recommendations and move on. But it’s unfounded to suggest many of them are traveling thousands of miles to New Jersey.

Such talk is also troubling, because it places the blame for rising virus numbers on a convenient villain – the poor immigrant. Scapegoating ethnic groups hardly seems like a good idea.

Murphy responded on Monday the way you would expect. He suggested that tales of an invading force of Covid-carrying migrants should be the province of kooks in “tin-foil hats.”

U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez chimed in as well, calling Allen’s comments racist and xenophobic.

We also heard from the Latino Action Network, which charged that the comments were meant to induce fear of immigrants.

So, is this the message the Ciattarelli campaign really wants to send out?

If so, it’s an odd one and it conflicts greatly with the theme of Jack and Diane’s introduction.

But you have to know it does please the Trump base and anyone else who may have wanted Rizzo or Singh to run for LG.

Maybe the purpose of Allen’s comments was simply to consolidate the GOP base before the “real” campaign begins.

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published this page in News and Politics 2021-08-12 02:08:56 -0700