TRENTON — In two interviews over the past week, Republican gubernatorial candidate Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli dodged and ducked when presented with an easy opportunity to disavow Oath Keeper and far-right conspiracy theorist Ed Durfee’s candidacy for Assembly in the 37th Legislative District.
When asked if he was comfortable sharing the party line with Durfee last week, Assemblyman Ciattarelli, taking issue with the reporter’s question, stated, “I don’t know of Ed’s voting record. I don’t know of his background. So your reason for the question is what?”
According to reports, Durfee, founder of the American Bedrock Foundation and North Jersey Regional Director of the Oath Keepers, worked as security detail for members of the far-right militia group during the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol. Ciattarelli, of course, was a featured speaker at a “Stop the Steal” rally in Bedminster.
Despite a hollow statement from his campaign that claimed the Assemblyman wouldn’t support anyone who participated in the insurrection running as a Republican, in an interview on TalkRadio WABC 77 over the weekend, Ciattarelli still couldn’t bring himself to directly call on Durfee to drop out of the race, stating “I don’t know this candidate personally. I’ve been in his company for only a very short time on a couple of different occasions. I don’t know what his ideology is.”
“Time after time, Assemblyman Ciattarelli has twisted himself into knots to avoid alienating the GOP’s pro-Trump base,” said Murphy for Governor Spokesman Jerrel Harvey. “From his reluctance to publicly acknowledge President Joe Biden’s victory to courting extremists at a ‘Stop the Steal’ Rally, New Jerseyans will not give Jack a pass for playing fast and loose about his affiliation with far-right ideology.”