New Jersey governor’s race still too close to be announced

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The New Jersey governor’s race remained too close to be called early Wednesday, with Republican Jack Ciattarelli ahead of Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy by about 1,200 votes out of more than 2 million ballots cast, according to the Associated Press.

Election officials in several counties were still processing mail-in ballots, which by state law must be counted if they are stamped before Tuesday and received by November 8. State officials said Monday that nearly 500,000 ballots had been received.

Mr Ciattarelli, a former member of the state assembly, criticized Mr Murphy’s tax policies and vowed to cut state spending. Mr Murphy, a former Goldman Sachs executive who was first elected in 2017, has raised taxes on millionaires and expanded education programs.

No Democrat has been re-elected governor of New Jersey since 1977.

Speaking to supporters just after midnight, Mr. Murphy said, “We’re going to wait until every vote is counted, and that’s how our democracy works.

Mr Ciattarelli said he would “do what needs to be done to certify this victory”.

Mr. Murphy campaigned on his incumbent record, touting the legalization of marijuana and the increase in the state’s minimum wage during his tenure. He said he had provided stable management during the Covid-19 pandemic, and Monmouth polls showed his job approval rating remained above 50% since the virus arrived in March 2020 .

Republican candidate Jack Ciattarelli greeted supporters at a hotel ballroom during his Lookout Party Tuesday night in Bridgewater, NJ


Photo:

Spencer Platt / Getty Images

In recent weeks, President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris have appeared with Mr. Murphy in the state. Three non-partisan polls released last week showed Mr Murphy leading by about 10 points over Mr Ciattarelli.

Registered Democrats number more than one million than Republicans in the Garden State, according to the New Jersey Secretary of State’s office. That’s a Democratic advantage of about 700,000 voters in 2009, when Republican Chris Christie defeated Jon Corzine’s candidacy for a second term.

Ben Dworkin, director of Rowan University’s Institute for Public Policy and Citizenship, said the election was at stake for Mr Murphy.

“Joe Biden’s low approval ratings are a drag. And the madness that has taken place in Washington has depressed Democratic enthusiasm and energized Republicans, ”he said.

Write to Jimmy Vielkind at [email protected]

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