Dem NJ Gov. Murphy declared winner, GOP challenger says race still too close to call

Off-year elections held this week have delivered some harsh blows to the Democratic Party.

Even as most pundits predicted that Democratic New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy would have an easy path to re-election, he appears to have eked out a win with a razor-thin margin over GOP rival Jack Ciatterelli.

“The opportunity to live out their hopes”

As Fox News reported, the election’s outcome was still too close to call as of Tuesday evening when the incumbent governor delivered a speech to supporters.

“For almost four years now, our focus has not been on trying to do more for those who already have much, but to do much for those in the middle and at the bottom so that they have more opportunity,” Murphy said at the time.

He went on to describe a desire to “build a state where every child, regardless of race or gender, creed or ZIP code, has the opportunity to live out their hopes and achieve their American dream.”

By the time he was declared the winner of the race on Wednesday, however, it was clear that many New Jersey voters did not endorse his record.

As for the Cittarelli campaign, spokesperson Stami Williams asserted that the results were still not definitive.

“Slow down and take a breath”

“With the candidates separated by a fraction of a percent out of 2.4 million ballots cast, it’s irresponsible of the media to make this call when the New Jersey Secretary of State doesn’t even know how many ballots are left to be counted,” Williams tweeted on Wednesday.

Prior to Election Day, RealClearPolitics reported that polling results showed Murphy with a nearly eight-point lead over Ciatterelli on average. When voters cast their ballots, however, the two candidates were separated by just a few thousand votes.

The GOP candidate’s strong showing came on the same night as an upset in Virginia’s gubernatorial election. Republican Glenn Youngkin defied expectations with his win over Democrat Terry McAuliffe.

Many political insiders on both sides of the aisle have portrayed the Virginia election and others across the country as a bellwether ahead of next year’s midterm elections, which could mean that Democratic candidates across the board will be in for a tough cycle.

For his part, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) said the results should be seen as a “wakeup call,” urging his own party to “slow down and take a breath” or risk ceding power to Republicans next year.

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