'Closer-Than-Expected Race': New Jersey Governor, GOP Candidate to Wait Until 'Each Vote' Counted
© AP Photo / Frank Franklin IIIncumbent Gov. Phil Murphy, D-N.J., right, listens as Republican challenger Jack Ciattarelli speaks during a gubernatorial debate at Rowan University's Pfleeger Concert Hall Tuesday, Oct. 12, 2021, in Glassboro, N.J.
© AP Photo / Frank Franklin II
Opinion polls have indicated for months that New Jersey's Democratic Governor Phil Murphy had a comfortable lead over Republican Jack Ciattarelli. Right now, though, Ciattarelli maintains a narrow lead in the gubernatorial election race.
Democratic incumbent Phil Murphy and Republican nominee Jack Ciattarelli have signalled their readiness to wait until each and every vote is counted in the New Jersey gubernatorial elections.
With both candidates locked in what CNN described as a "closer-than-expected race", Murphy told supporters that waiting "a little while longer than we had hoped" reflects the way "our [US]] democracy works".
Ciattarelli, for his part, noted that he had "wanted to come out here tonight and tell you that we won".
"But I'm here to tell ya that we're winning. We want every legal vote counted. And you all know the way the VBMs (vote by mail) work and the provisionals work; we've gotta have time to make sure that every legal vote is counted", he added.
With an estimated 88% of votes already processed, Ciattarelli has a lead of 1,193 votes out of more than 2.35 million counted, or a margin of less than 0.1 percentage points, according to the AP news agency.
3 November 2021, 04:43 GMT
Murphy held a steady lead over Ciattarelli in the polls throughout the campaign, which led many to believe that Tuesday's elections would be an easy win for the incumbent governor.
If the 64-year-old wins, he will be the first Democratic governor to be re-elected in New Jersey since 1977.
Ciattarelli has repeatedly described Murphy as a "tax and spend liberal", adding that if he himself is elected, he would reduce taxes.
His agenda also includes rolling back police reforms, banning abortions after 20 weeks, and hampering the climate change actions taken by Murphy.
Additionally, Ciattarelli supports neither mask mandates for school-age kids nor vaccine mandates, which are backed by a number of parents in New Jersey, according to polls.