Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy faced off against Republican Jack Ciattarelli.
Voters in New Jersey headed to the polls on Tuesday to weigh in on Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy’s reelection bid. New Jersey and Virginia were the only two states with a gubernatorial election in an off year, and all eyes were on them as the first official test for President Joe Biden at the ballot box.
But as of 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, the New Jersey governor’s race was still too close to call.
Murphy and former member of the state assembly Jack Ciattarelli, the Republican nominee, were swapping leads in early vote totals, but as heavily-Democratic counties processed mail-in ballots Wednesday afternoon, Murphy widened his lead over Ciattarelli. Still, vote totals remained outstanding.
Leading up to the election, Murphy comfortably led in public polling, but the race was still seen as a referendum on Biden’s agenda.
Democrats nationwide have attempted to equate all Republicans with former President Donald Trump, but Republicans deployed that same tactic as they tied Democrats to Biden, whose poll numbers began to sink over the summer with the withdrawal from Afghanistan, the spread of the delta variant and congressional negotiations over his agenda.
National Democrats, while more concerned with Virginia, swung through New Jersey to stump for Murphy, as well. He’s hosted former President Barack Obama, First lady Jill Biden and Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar.
Although New Jersey is reliable for Democrats when it comes to presidential and Senate elections, if he wins, Murphy would be the first Democratic governor reelected by New Jerseyans in more than 40 years.
Counties are colored red or blue when the % expected vote reporting reaches a set threshold. This threshold varies by state and is based on patterns of past vote reporting and expectations about how the vote will report this year.