Politics /

New Jersey’s Odd-Year Governor Race Has Murphy Leading Ciattarelli

Taxes became a key issue during the race

Phil Murphy could be the first reelected Democrat governor of New Jersey if he wins the election on Nov. 2.

Governor Murphy is one of five candidates vying for the position. The 64-year-old has held the lead in the polls for weeks. A Monmouth University poll found Murphy had an 11-point lead over Republican challenger Jack Ciattarelli.

“Murphy continues to hold a large advantage among black voters (83% to 6%) as well as Latinos, Asians and other voters of color (63% to 22%). He also has a small lead among white college graduates (49% to 43%), but trails Ciattarelli among white voters without a bachelor’s degree (35% to 55%),” Monmouth University Polling Institute reported.

The incumbent also leads in polls from Fairleigh Dickinson University and Emerson College.

Ciattarelli is a business owner and former member of the New Jersey legislature.

The New York Post endorsed Ciattarelli, calling him “a genuine Jersey businessman who’s cared about the state his whole life [and] has a far better understanding of regular people’s troubles and of New Jersey’s true needs.”

“Property taxes are up 4 percent under Murphy, with more hikes sure to come as he grows not only state government, but also Trenton’s mandates on local governments,” wrote the Post. “He’s boosted state income and other taxes to fund an $11 billion hike in state spending on various progressive dreams.”

Taxes have been a focal point of Ciattarelli’s campaign. He has pledged to cut taxes if elected, saying Murphy would make “New Jersey the California of the East Coast.”

Year over year over year, New Jersey is ranked the worst place in the country in which to do business,” the 59-year-old said while appearing on Fox News. “We’ve also got a state government that’s bloated, it’s inefficient, and it’s been corrupted by special interests. Those are the three main fiscal, economic issues that I’ve talked about all throughout this campaign, and it’s resonated with New Jerseyans.”

The Washington Examiner reported that there was “no clear path for Ciattarelli to close that margin in the days remaining before the Nov. 2 election, but his rise in the polls has concerned some Democrats.” 

Murphy’s campaign has enlisted the support of some of the nation’s most prominent Democrats, including former President Barack Obama and President Joe Biden.

Murphy, who served as the Ambassador to Germany from 2009 to 2013, faced backlash as the women’s soccer team he owns with his wife was investigated for visa violations. Sky Blue FC was one of seven professional teams investigated for immigration fraud. The teams were accused of illegally bringing coaches and players to the United States.

Murphy was not arrested and said he is not involved with the day-to-day operations of the team, reported NorthJersey.com.

Other candidates include the Green Party’s Madelyn Hoffman, Libertarian Greg Mele and Joanne Kuniansky of the Socialist Workers Party.

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