Murphy wins after mail-in ballots extend lead
WASHINGTON (AP) – New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy was declared the winner of his re-election campaign on Wednesday after results of mail-in votes and Democratic-leaning counties helped the Democrat extend his lead over Republican Jack Ciattarelli.
The Associated Press declared Murphy the winner on Wednesday night after a new batch of Republican-leaning Monmouth County votes increased Murphy’s lead and closed the door on a Ciattarelli return.
Ciattarelli won Monmouth by almost 20 percentage points. However, in keeping with a statewide trend, Murphy won the postal vote in Monmouth by around 40 percentage points.
Democrats across the country have dominated postal voting since the 2020 presidential election, after former President Donald Trump claimed, without evidence, that they were susceptible to fraud. Since then, Republicans have been much less likely to vote by mail, even in states where they have traditionally won the vote by mail.
Mail-in ballots accounted for just over 20% of all votes in New Jersey. Those votes erupted in Murphy’s favor, even in counties he didn’t win, such as Monmouth, Gloucester and Cumberland.
At the time of the AP call, there was still a significant number of ballots to be counted in Democratic-leaning counties, including Essex and Mercer. That’s why Murphy’s lead continued to grow after AP declared him the winner.
As of Thursday night, Murphy’s lead stood at 44,000 votes out of nearly 2.5 million votes counted. His margin over Ciattarelli was 1.8 percentage points.
Ciatterelli took the lead in the vote count on Tuesday night, with Republican-leaning counties declaring their votes faster than more Democratic counties, and many counties yet to release the results of their mail-in votes. The race swung for Murphy on Wednesday morning after more votes came from Burlington, Bergen, Hudson and Camden.
Ohlemacher is the editor of the PA electoral decisions