The race for governor in New Jersey remained too close to call early Wednesday as Gov. Phil Murphy’s Republican challenger Jack Ciattarelli clings on to a lead.

If he wins, Murphy will become the first Democrat to be reelected governor in the Garden State since 1977.

Ciattarelli, a former accountant and businessman, has been involved in New Jersey state politics for decades and served in the New Jersey General Assembly from 2011 to 2018. He ran for New Jersey governor in 2017 and came in second place in the primary.

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According to a Monmouth University poll, registered New Jersey voters ranked tax policy as the biggest issue in the race, followed by education, COVID-19, and crime.

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Murphy held a comfortable lead over Ciattarelli leading up to Election Day, according to the most recent polls collected by RealClearPolitics. Murphy’s smallest advantage was six points in an Emerson poll conducted between Oct. 15-18. Other polling shows Murphy with an even larger advantage.

But voters came out for Ciattarelli and made the race tighter than most imagined. The Fox News Poll has Ciattarelli up by about 1,000 votes with 88% reporting at about 3:30 a.m. ET.

(AP Photo/Frank Franklin II, Pool)

(AP Photo/Frank Franklin II, Pool)

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Third-party candidates in the race include Madelyn Hoffman for the Green Party, Joanne Kuniansky for the Socialist Workers Party, and Gregg Mele for the Libertarian Party.

New Jersey joins Virginia as one of only two states that hold gubernatorial elections during an off-election year.



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