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Murphy, Ciattarelli Deadlocked In Race For New Jersey Governor

By News Creatives Authors , in Business , at November 3, 2021

Topline

Incumbent Democrat Phil Murphy and Republican challenger Jack Ciattarelli are neck and neck in the race for New Jersey governor, with Ciattarelli ahead by a razor-thin 122-vote margin as of 12:45 p.m., after the heavily favored Murphy held the lead for much of Wednesday morning, with the state still tabulating mail-in votes that are expected to favor Murphy.

Key Facts

As of 12:45 p.m., 88% of the vote was in, and the outstanding ballots were mostly mail-in and absentee, meaning the election may not be called for several days.

Ciattarelli and Murphy had both captured 49.63% of the vote, much closer than the latest Monmouth University poll that gave Murphy an 11-point advantage.

Key Background

Murphy, a former Goldman Sachs executive, was first elected to the governorship in 2017, while Ciattarelli is an accountant who owned a medical publishing business and served in the New Jersey state legislature. The state was hit hard by Covid-19, especially in early 2020, and New Jersey ranks third in the nation in per capita Covid deaths. Much of Ciattarelli’s campaign has centered on criticism of Murphy’s handling of the pandemic, namely the ongoing mask mandates in schools and the state’s early policy that allowed Covid-positive patients to return to nursing homes upon discharge from hospitals (Murphy said these individuals were still segregated from the general population and had a right to be at their homes). Murphy has characterized his opponent as leaning far right and criticized Ciattarelli’s appearance at a New Jersey “Stop the Steal” rally that occurred before the January 6 Capitol riots, though Ciattarelli claimed he did not know the intention of the rally.

Surprising Fact

Although a Democrat has carried New Jersey in every presidential election since 1992, a Murphy win would make him the first multi-term Democratic governor since Brendan Byrne was reelected in 1977. In the same timeframe, three Republican governors served multiple terms.

Big Number

207,863. That’s how many New Jersey voters did in-person early voting in 2021, the first election year where residents had the option to do so.

Further Reading

New Jersey voters choose their next governor today. Here’s what to watch (NPR)

Everything you need to know about N.J.’s big elections Tuesday, including the heated governor’s race (NJ.com)

A light turnout to start and some problems with machines, as N.J. returns to in-person voting (NJ.com)

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