During an appearance on News 12’s Power & Politics on Friday, Republican gubernatorial candidate Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli was given yet another opportunity — his third in the past month — to publicly disavow Oath Keeper Ed Durfee’s candidacy for State Assembly. Instead, the Assemblyman again deflected and offered more excuses to avoid alienating the far-right base that he’s spent his entire campaign cozying up to.
When reminded of Ed Durfee’s presence at the U.S. Capitol on January 6 and asked if he’s made a decision to stand with the candidate, Assemblyman Ciattarelli doubled-down on a nonsensical claim that he’s unfamiliar with Durfee’s beliefs, despite being in his company “on a number of occasions.” Ciattarelli then took his defense of Durfee one step further, stating “Just because he was in Washington D.C. on January 6 doesn’t mean he’s guilty of insurrection.”
Durfee served as security detail for the far-right Oath Keepers outside of the U.S. Capitol on January 6, telling a reporter, “The onus was to make enough noise so that Congress knew that we were in D.C., because we wanted some results.” A founding member of the Oath Keepers pled guilty to federal charges last week in connection with the January 6 attack.
In the same interview, when pressed about why he’s on the ballot with a member of an extremist group that’s designated by the New Jersey Department of Homeland Security as a home-grown terrorist organization, Ciattarelli punted, claiming “You’d have to ask the Bergen County Republicans that question. They are the ones who decide, not me.”
“Assemblyman Ciattarelli has aligned himself with an Oath Keeper candidate to boost his credibility with a dangerous far-right movement, said Murphy for Governor Spokesman Jerrel Harvey. “It’s clear that loyalty to Trump’s extremist base is a prerequisite for winning the GOP primary in June. The Assemblyman’s idea of leadership is to take the stance that’s most beneficial to him in the moment and to pass the buck when New Jersey values are at stake.”