by: Stephen M. Lepore
Updated: May, 2021
TRENTON, N.J. — One of former President Donald Trump’s longest-serving advisors appears to have waded into the New Jersey governor’s race.
The story begins with Phil Rizzo, a former real estate developer who now serves as a Christian pastor in Hoboken and one of the main Republican contenders for the nomination in the June 8 primary, posting a photo from Mar-a-Lago with former President Trump.
“Wednesday night, at Mar-a-Lago, I was reminded of what happens when the people rally behind a candidate that is up against a corrupt establishment,” said Rizzo, who earlier in the week posted a photo with Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. “New Jersey 2021 can be a redo of 2016 if… WE THE PEOPLE!”
Hirsh Singh, a perennial GOP candidate who ran against Cory Booker for Senate in 2020 and lost in the 2017 gubernatorial primary, then jumped on the photo, posting a video of Rizzo saying that he didn’t vote for President Trump in 2016.
Singh compared Rizzo unfavorably to the presumptive frontrunner in the race, former Assemblyman Jack Ciatterelli, who has criticized both Trump and former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie in the past, even admitting that he himself did not vote for Trump in 2016.
That’s when Brad Parscale, who worked for the Trump Organization dating back to 2011, digital media director for his 2016 campaign and a campaign manager for a portion of the 2020 race, jumped in.
“Getting a photo at Mar-a-Lago doesn’t erase your Never-Trumper history,” wrote Parscale. “[Singh] is the only pro Trump candidate running. New Jersey needs a governor that does just sway to the tide that helps them personally.”Read more coverage of the 2021 New Jersey Gubernatorial Election from PIX11 News!
This continues a relationship between Singh and Parscale that emerged Thursday when Parscale promoted an internal poll that had Singh leading the primary.
It is unclear if Parscale is working for Singh’s campaign. Multiple attempts to reach out to the Singh campaign have been unsuccessful.
Rizzo is yet to respond to either Singh or Parscale’s claims. PIX11 News has reached out to a campaign spokesperson for comment.
Only Singh and Ciatterelli have qualified for the debate stage after Rizzo failed to qualify for public funds with the state election commission. Rizzo unsuccessfully appealed the decision.