Chat Box: Ciattarelli denounces ‘terrorism’ but not Oath Keeper Assembly candidate

Former Assemblyman and presumed Republican gubernatorial frontrunner Jack Ciattarelli is facing questions about his affiliation with a member of the Oath Keepers, a group identified by the state’s Department of Homeland Security as a home-grown terrorist organization.

Ed Durfee, a member of the Oath Keepers is running for Assembly on the Bergen County Republican party line in the June primary in the 37th Legislative District. That aligns him with Ciattarelli and Democrats have been calling on Ciattarelli to denounce him. On this week’s Chat Box Ciattarelli put some distance between himself and Durfee but didn’t exactly disavow him.

“I don’t know of Ed’s voting record, don’t know of his background,” he told moderator David Cruz.

Ciattarelli wondered why the question was asked. Reminded about the Oath Keepers status among law enforcement, Ciattarelli responded, “If anyone advocates terrorism, they should not be on the ballot, so I don’t know Ed’s personal opinions, beliefs or his previous conduct, but I would hope that that would not be the case, that he’d advocating terrorism. If he is, he shouldn’t be on the ballot.”

The former assemblyman also said he would fire Corrections Commissioner Marcus Hicks over his handling of the sex abuse and other charges against corrections officers at the Edna Mahan prison, and expressed general support for President Biden’s infrastructure plan.

Watch Chat Box live at 6:30 p.m. on the NJ Spotlight News YouTube channel, and Saturdays at 6:30 p.m. and Sundays at 10:30 a.m. on NJ PBS.

WATCH: Chat Box: Vaccines, variants and reopening

MORE: Chat Box: Lt. Gov. Sheila Oliver takes stock after a year of COVID-19

We’re in this together
For a better-informed future. Support our nonprofit newsroom.
Donate to NJ Spotlight