New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy projected to win reelection after surprisingly tight race against Jack Ciattarelli

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  • Murphy, a Democrat, was leading Ciatarelli, a businessman, in the election-day public elections.
  • But Murphy’s lead had shrunk significantly since May, when the 64-year-old former Goldman Sachs executive was voting 26 percentage points higher than Ciatarelli.
  • No Democratic governor in the Garden State had won again since Brendan Byrne did so in 1977.

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According to an NBC News projection, Governor Phil Murphy of New Jersey won his bid for re-election after an unexpectedly tight contest with Republican Jack Ciatarelli.

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The call came on Wednesday evening, as the counting of votes went ahead with election day. As of early Thursday, Murphy had a little over 50% of the vote, while Ciartarelli had about 49% of the vote, with 88% in the prefecture.

“I repeat my promise to you – whether you voted for me or not – to work every single day of the next four years to keep us moving forward,” Murphy said on Wednesday After NBC and other outlets called the race in his favor.

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Ciattarelli had not acknowledged until Thursday morning.

Murphy, a Democrat, was leading Ciatarelli, a businessman, in the election-day public elections.

But Murphy’s lead had shrunk significantly since May, when the 64-year-old former Goldman Sachs executive was voting 26 percentage points higher than Ciatarelli.

According to NBC’s estimates, as of late Wednesday, there were an estimated 87% of the expected votes — Murphy had won 50.2% of the vote, while Ciatarelli had received 49% of the vote.

No Democratic governor in the Garden State had won again since Brendan Byrne did so in 1977.

Ciattarelli has been hammered in recent weeks for raising taxes during his tenure at Murphy, running ads in 2019 telling Murphy, “If you’re a one-issue voter and the tax rate is your issue, we probably aren’t your state.”

New Jersey was one of two states that held gubernatorial elections this year. In Virginia, Republican Glenn Youngkin defeated Democratic nominee Terry McAuliffe, who had previously served one term in that state’s gubernatorial office.

Both states’ races were being watched closely to see if their results reflect the political fortunes of President Joe Biden – a Democrat who has recently seen his public approval ratings drop – and to see if Will they predict the fate of Democrats next year as they try to maintain control of both houses of Congress?

Democrats have an advantage of 1 million registered voters over Republicans in New Jersey, and every Democratic presidential candidate in the state has won over the past three decades.

But the state also has a strong contrarian streak, Every race since 1985 has been elected as governor by the candidate of the opposite party that has occupied the White House.

Murphy was well aware of this.

“Our team shows up, we win. Our team doesn’t show up, and it’s a coin toss. We can’t toss a coin,” Democrats said at a voter rally in South Orange on Monday night.

Previously, Murphy’s reelection bid had been supported through state visits by several prominent national Democrats, among them Biden, former President Barack Obama, First Lady Jill Biden, and Douglas Emhoff, husband of Vice President Kamala Harris.

Ciattarelli, 59, previously served as a member of the New Jersey General Assembly, representing the 16th district from 2011 to 2018. He sought the 2017 Republican nomination for governor, losing to Kim Guadagno, who was thoroughly defeated by Murphy.

Ciattarelli, a certified public accountant, founded a medical publishing company.

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