A day after New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy was named the winner of a second term, his Republican challenger Jack Ciattarelli continued to keep a low profile, with no scheduled public appearance.
Ciattarelli spokeswoman Stami Williams declined to comment on Thursday.
On Wednesday night, Williams challenged The Associated Press’s screening of Murphy as the winner.
“With the candidates separated by a fraction of a percent on 2.4 million ballots cast, it is irresponsible of the media to make this call when the New Jersey Secretary of State doesn’t even know how many ballots remain to be counted, âshe said. noted.
After a biting election night that saw Murphy and Ciattarelli in a stalemate and results too close to be announced for nearly 24 hours after the polls closed, Murphy had a lead Thursday of almost 41,000 votes with 99% of the vote expected counted. , according to the AP. His lead doubled from Wednesday night’s figure.
Ciattarelli’s last public appearance was at an election night rally in Somerset County. His campaign has not indicated whether they will call for a recount in the election, although Murphy’s lead has increased significantly since Wednesday as the votes continue to be counted. New Jersey does not have an automatic recount law for tight races, but candidates can apply in specific counties. Any political party requesting a recount must file one in state Superior Court within 17 days of polling day.
READ MORE: New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy wins second term, fending off strong GOP challenge
In Wednesday night’s victory speech at Asbury Park, Murphy said he would represent all New Jerseyans.
“I renew my promise to you, whether you voted for me or not, to work every day for the next four years to keep moving us forward,” he said. “Moving forward with renewed optimism to ensure greater opportunity for all 9.3 million people who inhabit this great state.”
Murphy was the first incumbent Democratic governor to be re-elected to New Jersey since 1977. He was also re-elected in the tightest Garden State gubernatorial race since 1981, when Republican Tom Kean defeated Jim Florio by less. 2,000 votes. Florio insisted on a recount and did not concede for 27 days.
Murphy had been seen from the start as the frontrunner to win, given that registered Democrats now outnumber Republicans by a million and the state is seen as moving to the left. President Joe Biden won 57% of the vote last year. Polls showed Murphy had a double-digit lead even a week before the election, but Republican insiders had predicted for weeks that the end results would be much closer.
A former Goldman Sachs executive who made millions on Wall Street, Murphy campaigned on his balance sheet: he signed bills for pay equity and the legalization of recreational marijuana, and invested in energy own. It passed a millionaires tax and expanded free tuition at state colleges. It made the first full payment of state workers’ pensions in decades.
Murphy has used his executive power to impose tough rules to curb the spread of the COVID virus. He was among the last governors to repeal an interior mask variant. As Delta variant cases increased this year, he was among the first to demand that teachers be vaccinated or undergo regular testing.
Ciattarelli and other Republicans say these achievements came at a cost and Murphy put the state in further debt. Ciattarelli presented the election as a referendum on Murphy, hammering him over the state’s high taxes and his coronavirus-related public health restrictions.
Murphy has set some specific goals for a second term, saying he will build on the accomplishments of his first term, focus on ethics reform and pass legislation to protect abortion rights in the world. State.
Murphy and his wife, Tammy, attended mass in Newark on Thursday morning. Murphy is scheduled to speak at the annual convention of the New Jersey Education Association, one of his biggest union supporters, in Atlantic City on Thursday afternoon.
Ciattarelli campaigned by keeping some distance from former Republican President Donald Trump without chasing Trump’s more staunch supporters into the Garden State.
Both candidates received the maximum of $ 10.5 million in public taxpayer funding for their primary general election campaign fund and spent about an additional $ 2 million on top of that. Murphy finished the race with about $ 3 million in his fund, unspent, but usable, officials said.
That said, other independent spending in New Jersey by Democratic support groups, like the Teachers Union, far exceeded that of GOP groups.