Incumbent New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy has been re-elected in one of the closest gubernatorial races in the history of the state.
Murphy survived a challenge from republican candidate Jack Ciattarelli, making him the first democratic governor to win re-election in the Garden State since 1977.
Ciattarelli‘s campaign strategy centered largely on criticism of Murphy’s tax policies. While Murphy raised taxes on millionaires following his election in 2017, Ciattarelli promised to cut spending in the perennially high-tax state.
Murphy’s messaging focuses on his record in office, opening new streams of tax revenue for the state with the legalization of recreational cannabis and raising the minimum wage. Further, Murphy’s stable handling of the COVID pandemic helped him maintain an approval rating of over 50 percent for the entirety of the past 18 months. Still, the race was far closer than polls suggested.