Incumbent Democratic Governor Phil Murphy faces Republican challenger Jack Ciatarelli
Republican New Jersey gubernatorial candidate Jack Ciatarelli aims to oust Democratic Governor Phil Murphy when the election kicks off on November 2 in a race that is seen as a potential bellwether for voter sentiment ahead of the 2022 midterm. .
Murphy is seeking a second term as governor after implementing a progressive agenda that included strict gun laws and higher taxes on the wealthy during his first years. The incumbent Democrat has argued that Ciatarelli is a supporter of Donald Trump, which would undo years of progress in the state, while the Republican challenger has slammed elements of Murphy’s COVID-19 response and tax policies, which have led to the rise within New Jersey. There has been a high cost of living. .
Here’s what to know about New Jersey’s gubernatorial race.
Who is the Democratic candidate?
Phil Murphy, a former senior director of Goldman Sachs, left the private sector and entered politics in the early 2000s. He served as the US ambassador to Germany under former President Barack Obama from 2009 to 2013. Murphy became governor in 2017 defeating Republican candidate Kim Guadagno. He replaces former governor and 2016 presidential candidate Chris Christie, who stepped down due to term limits.
President Biden and Obama have both endorsed Murphy for re-election and appeared with him on the campaign trail ahead of election day.
Who is the Republican candidate?
A former accountant and businessman, Jack Ciatarelli has been involved in New Jersey state politics for the past several decades. He served in the New Jersey General Assembly from 2011 to 2018.
Ciattarelli finished second in the Republican gubernatorial primary during the last election cycle in 2017.
New Jersey governor’s race tight with six days to go until Election Day
Who are the third party candidates?
Madeline Hoffman is the Green Party candidate, Joan Kuniaski is the Socialist Workers’ Party candidate and Greg Mele is the Libertarian Party’s candidate.
What are the major issues?
Tax policy is a major factor in this year’s gubernatorial race, with 27% of registered voters identifying it as the most important issue in deciding who they will support, according to one Monmouth University Survey Released on Wednesday.
Jobs and the economy are second at 20%, followed by education and schools (16%), response to the COVID-19 pandemic (15%), and crime (7%). Respondents said they relied more on Ciatarelli than on tax policy (39% to 29%), while Murphy had a small lead on the economy (34% to 33%) and a big lead on the pandemic response (45% to 26%) .
Ciattarelli has promised to reduce property and income taxes, arguing that Murphy’s policies have inflicted an unreasonable cost of living. He said he would work with state legislators “on day one” to cut the budget, which has ballooned as Murphy implements state-funded programs in education and other areas.
While he has urged New Jersey residents to get vaccinated, Republicans are also criticizing mandates for vaccinations and face masks. He has also stressed that Murphy’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic was detrimental to local businesses.
Murphy has vowed to build on the progressive policies he implemented during his first term. Democrats and their supporters have also claimed that Ciatarelli is a close ally of Trump, citing his appearance at a “Stop the Steal” rally in November 2020. Ciatarelli said he was not aware that the rally was focused on claims of election-rigging.
Murphy’s handling of COVID-19 has been popular within the state, but he has faced scrutiny over his handling of coronavirus-related deaths at nursing homes in the state.
Electing the New Jersey Governor: How to Vote
Who is leading the race so far?
Murphy has maintained a sizable advantage over Ciatarelli in the pre-election polls, although the Democrats’ lead has waned in recent weeks. A new survey from Monmouth University found that Murphy enjoys 50% support among registered voters in New Jersey, compared to 39% for Ciarelli.
The incumbent’s 11-point lead was slightly lower than in Monmouth’s September election, when it held a 13-point lead, and in the August election, when it had a 16-point lead.
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What to know about voting
Initial individual voting for New Jersey’s gubernatorial race began on October 23 and will continue through the end of the month. This is the first time the state has allowed early voting for an election.
For mail-in ballots to be counted, they must be postmarked by November 2 at 8 p.m. ET and arrive at the County Board of Elections by November 8.
Voting will close at 8 p.m. ET on Election Day, November 2.