New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy (D) has secured a second term after defeating former State Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli (R) in the unexpectedly tight race for governor of the state.
The Associated Press called the race for Murphy on Wednesday night, with the governor leading Ciattarelli by a margin of 50.02-49.23 with 90 percent of the precincts reporting.
Murphy defeated Ciattarelli in a race that polls showed was slightly reduced in the final weeks of the campaign. While New Jersey’s blue hue proved too deep for Ciattarelli to top it off, the former state legislator exceeded expectations, holding a lead over Murphy for much of Tuesday night before falling slightly behind in the early hours of the season. Wednesday morning.
Both candidates effectively declared victory early Wednesday morning and said more votes should be tabulated. Although it was Murphy who was ultimately victorious.
“We are all sorry that tonight still can’t be the celebration we want,” Murphy said at his campaign observation party. “We hope to have a celebration.”
The acting governor did not enjoy any advantage until after Tuesday gave way to Wednesday, and even then it was by the narrowest margin. With 88 percent of the votes counted, he led by just 7,000 votes, a big leap toward Republicans in one state. President BidenJoe Biden Five Takeaways from a Bleak Night for Democrats Youngkin Wins Virginia Governor’s Race Michelle Wu Chosen as Boston’s First Mayor MORE won by 16 points in 2020.
As the votes continued Wednesday showing Murphy taking a slight lead, Ciattarelli suggested that he would wait for all the votes to be cast before conceding.
“Last night was historic for New Jersey Republicans, who won at least a half dozen seats in the Assembly, several seats in the Senate, along with local and county seats across the state,” said Stami Williams, a spokeswoman for the the Ciattarelli campaign. late. “Jack is proud to lead our ticket and the resurgence of our party. Right now, our team is focused on making sure all legal votes are counted and that our citizens can have confidence in the system.”
Murphy, who first won his seat in 2017, ran as an effective manager during the coronavirus pandemic while calling his opponent a Trump infantryman. Meanwhile, Ciattarelli called himself a moderate and sought to keep Trump at arm’s length, focusing much of his campaign on economic issues and education.
Murphy started the race with a sizable lead in the polls, but polls showed his lead narrowed in the run-up to Tuesday’s contest. Still, his very fine victory turned out very different from the 6 and 11-point leads he enjoyed in recent polls.
The Republican Party expected Ciattarelli to be a competitive candidate given his moderate reputation, especially after the former state legislator won the nomination earlier this year over a field of Trump acolytes.
Still, Republicans admitted that toppling Murphy in a state like New Jersey would be an uphill battle, but they viewed Ciattarelli’s performance as an indicator of how much ground the Republican Party could win in blue states that contain competitive House seats. , particularly in suburban areas.
The party suffered severe setbacks in such areas during the Trump administration. The Garden State had six members of the Republican Party House of Representatives from a 12-seat delegation through 2019 and one Republican governor through 2018. But during the Trump years, the Republican Party saw the governor’s mansion and four House seats. disappear amid a backlash against the White House.
Murphy’s victory breaks a New Jersey trend, becoming the first Democratic governor of the state to win reelection since 1977, underscoring the growing Democratic advantage in Garden State.
But the New Jersey results still sound the alarm bells for Democrats, who were also beaten in the Virginia gubernatorial race.
Democrats were left reeling from the reversal of significant gains during the Trump years among suburbanites, as they continued to be hit in rural areas, in some cases by even higher margins than in 2020 when the former president triggered an increase in Republican participation.
Republicans appeared to be smelling blood in the water Wednesday, boasting that results in Virginia and New Jersey predicted the party could win back the House and Senate next year, two chambers in which Democrats defend historically narrow majorities. . The Republican campaign arm of the House of Representatives announced Wednesday that they would add 13 more Democrats to their target list.