November 27, 2021

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‘It’s quite clear there’s a lot of hurt out there,’ Murphy says after close N.J. governor’s race – NJ.com

2 min read

Gov. Phil Murphy is happy to be the first Democratic governor to win a second term in New Jersey since 1977, but he realizes the closer-than-expected outcome of Tuesday’s election means there’s more work to be done.

That was the message he gave to Chuck Todd on “Meet the Press” Sunday morning.

“Chuck, it’s quite clear there’s a lot of hurt out there,” Murphy said. “And there are a lot of kitchen tables that we need to connect more deeply with and help folks get through this period, whether they lost a loved one, a job, a small business, they’re frustrated by the ongoing pandemic or economic recovery, whatever it may be.”

The governor’s victory wasn’t declared until a day after Election Day. As more ballots were counted, his edge over former state lawmaker and Republican rival Jack Ciattarelli continues to grow. Murphy currently leads by about 65,000 votes, or 2.6 points, which isn’t historically close, but still far tighter was expected prior to Election Day.

The governor also suggested during the interview his progressive politics helped deliver him a win.

“Thank God we put the programs in place, we put in place, the actions we took, whether it’s expanding pre-K, raising the minimum wage, investing in all-time record levels in infrastructure, because I think had we not, we might have been swept away as well,” Murphy said.

However, with the stunning election upset of state Senate President Stephen Sweeney, D-Gloucestar, and other GOP gains in the state Assembly, many Democratic legislators may not agree with the governor.

Ciattarelli has yet to concede the race, though Murphy’s margins continue to grow. The Republican has put out calls for “every legal vote” to be counted and has already sent out emails to supporters to bankroll a recount.

There’s no automatic recount of votes in New Jersey. Instead, candidates can petition courts in each county for a recount. If granted, the state would cover the cost of a recount if the race was within 1 point, which means Ciattarelli’s campaign would be footing the bill for any recount. The latest vote totals show that of the 11 counties Murphy won, the two with the slimmest margins are Passaic, at 2%, and Somerset, at 2.4%.

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Matt Arco may be reached at marco@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter at @MatthewArco.

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