The following campaign statement was issued by GOP Gubernatorial Primary candidate Jack Ciattarelli through his campaign staff in Somerville:

SOMERVILLE, NJ – Phil Murphy pandering to entrenched Trenton special interests is a 180-degree reversal from the Benefits Review Task Force he chaired in 2005, which the New York Times described as “striking for its blunt language and its bold recommendations,” and Kim Guadagno's promise to conduct a “full-scale audit” of the same state government she’s overseen as New Jersey’s second-highest elected official is exactly the kind of political choreography voters have come to hate, said Republican gubernatorial candidate and state Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli, R-16th

“When you read Phil Murphy rightfully sounding the alarm about our public pension and benefits crises in 2005 and then you compare those comments to the shameless political pandering and suck-up tour that Mr. Murphy is engaged in today, it’s nauseating,” said Ciattarelli, who pointed to Murphy’s past calls for increasing the retirement age for public employees, freezing COLA’s and increasing employee costs for healthcare.

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“It’s clear from the 2005 report authored by Mr. Murphy that he understands the crisis we're facing. And yet, fast forward to today, and Murphy has, in order to get elected, completely sold out to all the special interests to gain their endorsements,” Ciattarelli said.

As for Lt. Governor Guadagno’s ideas for turning around New Jersey, which were rolled out last week, Ciattarelli said, “It’s obviously more of the same old poll-driven platitudes masquerading as a plan. After hearing the Lt. Governor’s so-called plan, it’s no wonder she won’t agree to debate.” Ciattarelli continued, “It’s time for politicians in both parties to stop the pandering and political platitudes, and give New Jersey taxpayers some specifics on how to point our state in a new direction.

“When I was diagnosed with cancer, my medical team was clear and direct: The only way to get better was through aggressive treatment that would cure the disease, which, thankfully, it did," the Hillsborough resident continued. "It wasn’t easy. It wasn’t fun. It wasn’t pain free. In many ways, New Jersey is in the same situation. Any candidate for Governor who refuses to provide a specific plan, and misleads taxpayers about the pain and sacrifice involved, is being dishonest.

"My five-point plan is full of tough medicine, but that’s exactly what our state needs right now," Ciattarelli said. "The difference between Murphy and Guadagno and me is that I have the courage to tell voters the truth and outline a clear prescription for how to fix our state. I am glad Murphy and Guadagno were not my doctors.”