Trenton, NJ (AP) – New Jersey Democratic Governor Phil Murphy won re-election by a narrow margin on Wednesday in a victory that saved Democrats from losing their second gubernatorial seat.
He is the first Democratic governor of a state to win a second consecutive term in 44 years, defeating former Republican Assemblyman Jack Chiattarelli.
Chiattarelli has campaigned in a formidable New Jersey, with spending nearly on par with the governor’s and outstripping the GOP four years ago. But Murphy’s advantages, including an additional 1 million registered Democrats, proved too great for a Republican.
The win gives Democrats a silver lining after Glenn Youngkin, GOP businessman, defeated Terry McAuliffe in the Virginia gubernatorial race, exacerbating fears that President Joe Biden’s falling approval rating is hurting the party. This year’s election marks the first major test of voter sentiment since Biden took office, and marked a potentially painful year for Democrats who are trying to maintain a slim majority in Congress.
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The proximity of the race surprised experts who watched public opinion polls that showed Murphy to be a confident leader and counted on the advantage of registering his party with more than a million voters.
“If you asked anyone in the state a few months ago, I think anyone could have predicted that Murphy would have a double-digit landslide,” said Ashley Koning, director of the Eagleton Opinion Center at Rutgers University.
Murphy’s victory also ended a more than three-decade party trend opposing the president’s victory in New Jersey’s interannual governor’s race. Voters have marched for Chiatarelli with a much higher score this year than his GOP predecessor in 2017.
The 64-year-old governor said he was well aware of political trends, describing them as the “driving force” of his re-election, which prompted him to run as if he were 10 points behind.
Murphy has built his campaign around the progressive advances he signed into law – such as phasing in the $ 15 an hour minimum wage and paid sick leave along with taxes on the rich – and recruited his Democratic allies, such as Progressive, to the campaign. US Senator Bernie Sanders. for him.
Thanks to a Democratic-led legislature, Murphy has fulfilled most of the promises he made on his first try four years ago when he fought for Republican Chris Christie’s seat. Paid sick leave, taxpayer-funded community college and some preschools, tougher gun laws, expanded voting access, recreational marijuana, additional government aid to schools, and a fully funded government pension are all promised and fulfilled in the first semester. The proposal to finance the projects by the state bank remained unfulfilled.
It became clear Wednesday morning that the election results boded badly for Democrats as Republicans seized the Virginia governor’s seat.
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“The headwinds faced by Democrats, such as the drop in President Joe Biden’s approval rating and the Democratic congressional struggle to advance their agenda, didn’t have much of an impact on the election analysis of some experts,” said Ben Dworkin, director of the Rowan Institute for Public Policy and Citizenship. university. … He ranked himself among them.
A Ciattarelli spokesman said Wednesday the campaign focused on counting and said a possible recount lawsuit was on the table. Murphy also called Wednesday morning to count each vote.
Over the past four years, the State Democratic Party has expanded its registration advantage by 1 million more than the Republicans, and has also gained all but one of the 12 seats in the State House of Representatives, although it lost one when the MP defected to the Republican Party instead of the Democratic Party. … push to impeach Trump.
Chiattarelli is a former State Assembly member who served until 2018. He is the founder of a medical publishing company called Galen Publishing and also served as a local and county official in Somerset.
He crossed the line between upholding the moderate positions he held in the Legislature – such as supporting Roe versus Wade – and reaching out to Republicans who supported Trump, especially on cultural issues that have garnered national attention.