By Awa Soumahoro
CCC Journalism Program
Democratic New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy has been declared the winner in his bid for reelection over Republican Jack Ciattarelli.
As of Wednesday evening, the count showed Murphy with 1,217,043 votes to 1,193,262 votes for Ciattarelli with 87 percent of the ballots counted. The race was much closer than many observers had expected.
Murphy campaigned on building on his record in his first term as governor, including his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, raising the minimum wage and expanding paid family leave.
“So tonight, I renew my promise to you, whether you voted for me or not, to work every single day of the next four years to keep moving us forward, forward with renewed optimism to ensure greater opportunities for all 9.3 million who call this great state home,” Murphy said in his victory speech Wednesday.
Ciattarelli campaigned on issues including property taxes and the economy.
A spokesperson for the Ciattarelli campaign said Wednesday it was “irresponsible” to call Murphy the winner “when the New Jersey Secretary of State doesn’t even know how many ballots are left to be counted.”
Camden County College student Karen Ngu said of the election, “Gov. Murphy is the only way to go. He argued that the Republican leaders lacked the potential.”
But Camden County College student Malicka Cisse said, “It is high time that Gov. Phil Murphy surrendered power to the Republicans. Murphy has ruled for four years.”
New Jersey voters also chose the 40 members of the state Senate, 80 members of the state Assembly and county, municipal and school district officials. They also rejected a proposal to allow betting on New Jersey college sports teams and collegiate athletic events held in the state and they approved a proposal to allow non-profit organizations to use money they raise from games of chance to support their operations.