New Jersey is a deep-blue state that is often a reliable victory for Democrats. So how did Gov. Phil Murphy have so much trouble pulling out a win?
Murphy is the projected winner in the Garden State after a hotly contested gubernatorial race against GOP challenger Jack Ciattarelli, the Washington Examiner reported. However, this race was closer than it should have been by all accounts.
The two candidates were separated by few votes as totals came in. That didn’t stop the Associated Press from calling it early for the Democrat, as is the usual arrangement in the establishment media, but the outraged the Ciattarelli campaign.
“With the candidates separated by a fraction of a percent out of 2.4 million ballots cast, it’s irresponsible of the media to make this call when the New Jersey Secretary of State doesn’t even know how many ballots are left to be counted,” Stami Williams, the communications director for Ciattarelli’s campaign, tweeted Wednesday. Vote totals continued to fluctuate throughout the day, alternatively giving the lead to each.
The polls going into the race showed that Murphy would win handily though Ciattarelli managed the narrow the gap as the election drew near. Murphy had the help of President Joe Biden and former President Barack Obama in the final push toward Election Day, a move that signaled how worried the Democrats were about losing.
Though New Jersey has 1 million more registered Democrats than Republicans, this projected win is narrow with Murphy capturing 50.03% of the vote to Ciattarelli’s 49.22%, Reuters reported. There is no official word of a recount, but with the candidates separated by less than 20,000 votes so far, it seems likely.
Notably, some key counties experienced technical and other difficulties during the election, the New York Post reported. In Hudson County, some early votes were counted twice while voting machines in Paterson and others in Essex County were accidentally shut down prior to counting the votes.
Regardless of the final outcome, Murphy won re-election by an incredibly slim margin. Though it’s common for the state to switch parties in an off-year election, it’s encouraging that this deep-blue state put up such a fight to throw the Democrat out of office.