Phil Murphy narrowly reelected governor in New Jersey, defeating Republican Jack Ciattarelli

0
219

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy speaks during an election night event at Grand Arcade at the Pavilion on Nov. 2, 2021 in Asbury Park, N.J. The AP called the race the Democrat on Nov. 3.

Mark Makela/Getty Images

Gov. Phil Murphy won reelection in New Jersey defeating Republican challenger Jack Ciattarelli, according to a call from the Associated Press.

The extremely tight race was perhaps the biggest surprise out of Tuesday’s elections. For months, polls have shown that Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy had a comfortable lead — as much as 11 points according to a Monmouth University poll released last week — over Ciattarelli.

Murphy is the first Democratic governor to be reelected in New Jersey since 1977.

Even though Ciattarelli ran in the 2017 Republican primary for governor, he was largely unknown across the state. But he turned out votes in the Republican stronghold districts of Ocean and Monmouth counties and also did well in suburbs across the state. Morris County, which had recently been shifting blue, supported the Republican.

New Jersey has about a million more registered Democrats than Republicans. Both of the state’s U.S. senators are Democrats, and both chambers of the state legislature are blue. But gubernatorial races have been much less predictable.

The state has more independent voters than members of either party, and that silent majority spoke on Tuesday. New Jersey also has the highest property taxes in the nation, and that issue has toppled previous Democratic governors, despite taxes rising just as much under Republican governors.

Ciattarelli focused his campaign on those high taxes and hit Murphy in advertisements and in two debates over a video of Murphy saying if taxes are your issue, then New Jersey probably isn’t your state.

Murphy says that quote was taken out of context and that he was speaking to a business group, explaining that New Jersey will never be able to compete with low-tax states, but that businesses come for the highly educated workforce, the proximity to major cities and the state’s mass transit system.

Murphy spent much of the campaign tying Ciattarelli to former President Trump, calling his opponent an extremist and pointing out that Ciattarelli attended a “Stop the Steal” rally in New Jersey on the same day as the riot at the U.S. Capitol. In the final weeks of the campaign, the Democratic Party’s biggest names visited the state, including President Biden, former President Barack Obama and Vice President Harris.

Even though Ciattarelli ran in the 2017 Republican primary for governor, he was largely unknown across the state. But he turned out votes in the Republican stronghold districts of Ocean and Monmouth counties and also did well in suburbs across the state. Morris County, which had recently been shifting blue, supported the Republican.

New Jersey has about a million more registered Democrats than Republicans. Both of the state’s U.S. senators are Democrats, and both chambers of the state legislature are blue. But gubernatorial races have been much less predictable.

The state has more independent voters than members of either party, and that silent majority spoke on Tuesday. New Jersey also has the highest property taxes in the nation, and that issue has toppled previous Democratic governors, despite taxes rising just as much under Republican governors.

Ciattarelli focused his campaign on those high taxes and hit Murphy in advertisements and in two debates over a video of Murphy saying if taxes are your issue, then New Jersey probably isn’t your state.

Murphy says that quote was taken out of context and that he was speaking to a business group, explaining that New Jersey will never be able to compete with low-tax states, but that businesses come for the highly educated workforce, the proximity to major cities and the state’s mass transit system.

Murphy spent much of the campaign tying Ciattarelli to former President Trump, calling his opponent an extremist and pointing out that Ciattarelli attended a “Stop the Steal” rally in New Jersey on the same day as the riot at the U.S. Capitol. In the final weeks of the campaign, the Democratic Party’s biggest names visited the state, including President Biden, former President Barack Obama and Vice President Harris.

Phil Murphy was born in 1957 and raised in Needham, Mass. His mother was a secretary and his father held a series of low-paying jobs. He attended Harvard University and the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania. He rose quickly through the ranks at Goldman Sachs.

He became very wealthy, retired young and raised money for the 2004 campaign for Barack Obama, who rewarded him with an ambassadorship in Germany.

Murphy and his wife, Tammy, have four children and live in a waterfront estate in Middletown, N.J.

The last Democrat to win a second term was Brenden Byrne in 1977.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here