Ciattarelli and McAuliffe Winners in Gubernatorial Primaries
Jack Ciattarelli, a moderate Republican from New Jersey, and Terry McAuliffe, an establishment Democrat from Virginia, both had strong victories in last night’s gubernatorial primaries against their respective party’s political competition. Now in the last stretch of a race to the governor’s office, they face several months of hard campaigning before going on to face their political opponents this November.
Ciattarelli, a former businessman turned politician, struck a chord with New Jersey’s Republicans by pushing lower property taxes, job creation and the revitalization of small businesses in the Main Street area. He won 49.6% of the vote against his three opponents, Philip Rizzo, Hirsh Singh and Brian Levine – suggesting that New Jersey’s voter base isn’t quite ready for the Trump-era politics promoted by his competition.
The Republican victor wasted no time issuing his concerns about the current New Jersey governor and his soon-to-be Democratic opponent, Phil Murphy.
“Here’s Phil’s problem. He wasn’t raised here. Never went to school here. Never worked here. Never owned a business here. He’s somebody else. He’s somebody else,” said Ciattarelli. “He is not from New Jersey. He’s not Ocean City. He’s not Mullica Hill. He’s not Bridgewater…He’s not New Jersey and in January 2022 he’s not our governor.”
Ciattarelli, 59, received more votes than his opponents within every county of New Jersey – with especially wide margins of victory in Atlantic, Cape May, Bergen and Essex Counties.
“This campaign isn’t going to be easy. It’s going to be hard, real hard. And that’s okay by me. But know this, nothing worth achieving is ever easy, and saving our state is worth every ache, pain, bead of perspiration, and hardship along the way,” he continued. “I am all in. Are you?”
McAuliffe, a former Virginia governor and established Democratic politician, was declared the victor with 62.3% of the vote in a race against five other Democrats. As he walked to the stage, the longtime politician received a standing ovation from supporters and warm embraces from his campaign endorsers – all to the energetic tune of Bon Jovi’s “Livin’ on a Prayer.”
“I want to thank you,” McAuliffe said. “All the supporters who are in this room, and all the people who came out across this Commonwealth of Virginia, who work day in and day out, to help us have this huge win tonight, this would not have been possible without you. Thank you.”
McAullife, 64, ran a progressive campaign seeking to increase the minimum wage to $15 by 2024, address inequities in education funding, ban assault weapons and high capacity magazines, and protect abortion access.
“I don’t have to tell you about the progress that we have made over the last eight years under my administration and Governor Northam,” he continued. “We are a different state than we were eight years ago, and we are not going back.”
McAullife will go on to face Republican candidate Glenn Youngkin in November’s election.
Virginia also saw Hala Ayala earn a victory against five other candidates in the Democratic Primary for lieutenant governor. Ayala earned 39.1% of the vote, surpassing runner up Sam Rasoul, who took 25.3% of the vote, and third place candidate Mark Levine who saw 11.7% of the vote.
“We need to rebuild our local economy stronger than before – creating jobs to support our small businesses and workers. We need to expand access to health care and lower prescription drugs. We need to invest in our infrastructure like broadband and bridge the rural divide facing our local communities,” said Ayala in her victory speech.
Ayala, a former cybersecurity specialist, will go on to join McAuliffe in November against Glenn Youngkin and the Republican nominee and former marine, Winsome E. Sears.
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