Murphy wins 2nd term, a 1st for a Democratic governor in NJ since 1977

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TRENTON, N.J. (PIX11) — Gov. Phil Murphy narrowly clinched a win in New Jersey’s nail-biter election. That makes him the first Democratic incumbent to be reelected in the Garden State in decades, according to the Associated Press.

Murphy was favored over Republican candidate Jack Ciattarelli, though the gubernatorial race had tightened in the final days, and ballot counting showed the pair in a dead heat until the race was called. The Ciattarelli campaign released a statement Wednesday condemning projections of Murphy’s victory, adding that the New Jersey secretary of state had yet to reveal to the campaign the number of outstanding ballots.

New Jersey does not have an automatic recount law, but the candidates are permitted to request one. The party that wants a recount has to file a suit in State Superior Court in the counties where they want to contest tallies. That has to be done within 17 days of Election Day.

A lawsuit filed the evening of the election by the American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey, based on social media posts and local news reports, alleged that dozens of voters were turned away from polls. In some places, that was because electronic tablets used to check in voters struggled to connect to the internet. The suit sought to extend voting until 9:30 p.m. It was denied by the court, the civil rights organization said. Polls closed at the expected time of 8 p.m.

Murphy staked his chances on a substantial list of progressive laws he’s signed. Those include paid sick leave, a phased-in $15 minimum wage, higher taxes on the wealthy, taxpayer-financed community college, and pre-kindergarten, among others.

The governor committed to not raising taxes further this upcoming term, but he would not commit to reducing taxes in a potential second term. Murphy would also continue his millionaire’s tax.

The governor was first elected in 2017. He replaced Chris Christie. Before his election, Murphy served as former President Barack Obama’s ambassador to Germany from 2009 to 2013. He ran unopposed in this year’s Democratic primary.

Jersey voters also headed to the polls to decide on the state Legislature. In the Assembly and Senate, 120 seats were on the ballot.

Watch Murphy’s victory speech here:

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