Jewish leaders congratulate New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy on his re-election

In an exciting race that was too close to be called for nearly 24 hours after the polls closed Tuesday night, New Jersey Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy won a second term, defeating Republican challenger Jack Ciattarelli.

American Jewish leaders flooded Twitter Wednesday night to congratulate the 64-year-old, who is the first Democratic governor to win re-election in New Jersey, home to the fourth largest Jewish community in the United States, in four decades. Some pointed out that the orthodox Jewish vote may have influenced the race for the Democrat.

“Mazel Tov to @PhilMurphyNJ on his re-election as Governor of New Jersey!” the Jewish Democratic Council of America (JDCA) tweeted. “It is clear that Governor Murphy not only shares our Jewish values, but acts on them every day as Governor of New Jersey, and we are proud to have supported his winning campaign.”

During the campaign, JDCA Executive Director Halie Soifer said that Murphy “not only shares our Jewish values, but acts on them every day as Governor of New Jersey.”

“Governor Murphy has provided consistent leadership during the pandemic, taken bold steps to combat gun violence, and ensured access to affordable health care. It has distinguished New Jersey as a national leader in the fight against COVID-19, ensuring equal rights for all and protecting the environment. We are proud to support his re-election, “said Soifer.

“The Orthodox Jewish vote may have tilted the New Jersey governor’s race toward the Democrat,” tweeted Atlantic reporter Yair Rosenberg. “In recent years, @PhilMurphyNJ and its attorney general @GurbirGrewalNJ went after discriminatory groups and municipalities that tried to keep Orthodox Jews out, and they won. That mattered.”

Governor Phil Murphy meets with the Greater Metrowest Jewish Federation on Saturday, October 20, 2018 EDWIN J. TORRES / OFFICE OF THE GOVERNOR

In the surprisingly close election, Murphy won the support of both orthodox and progressive Jews, generally known for gravitating toward rival candidates.

About 70% of American Jews lean to the left, according to the Pew Research CenterAnd for New Jersey residents among them, Murphy is an attractive candidate.
The Lakewood Vaad endorsed Murphy on Tuesday, providing him with the support of hugely influential religious leaders in the Orthodox Jewish community. New Jersey Globe reported.

Lakewood is a heavily Republican township, but with Vaad’s support, Murphy was able to win the township by 114 votes over Republican Kim Guadagno in 2017.

“The results are (almost) in and the Lakewood community may very well be what helped put @GovMurphy
at the top, “former New York State Assemblyman Benny Polatseck tweeted Wednesday afternoon.

The last term, Murphy, who is Catholic, renewed the New Jersey-Israel Commission, which oversees trade relations with Israel. He also recently used state anti-BDS law against Unilever, Ben & Jerry’s parent company, for the ice cream maker’s decision to end sales in the occupied West Bank.

Murphy has overseen a shift to the left in the state, including new taxes on millionaires, tougher gun restrictions, a higher minimum wage and paid sick leave. He has also defended his robust approach to the coronavirus pandemic, including requiring masks in schools.

Ciattarelli, 59, a former state legislator, had focused much of his campaign on the state’s high taxes, while accusing Murphy, a wealthy former Goldman Sachs executive, of being offline.

New Jersey has had a consistent trend toward Democrats in recent years. The party won 10 of the 12 U.S. House of Representatives seats in 2020, and President Joe Biden outscored former President Donald Trump last year by more than 15 percentage points.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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