Joe Biden won New Jersey by sixteen points one year ago. Polls had incumbent Democrat governor Phil Murphy ahead outside the margin of error. Challenger Jack Ciattarelli jumped out to a lead in early vote counting, but everyone knew Murphy would pull away easily when Essex and Passaic counties came in.
In a shocker, the contest, once seen as a shoo-in for Gov. Phil Murphy, remained too close to call Wednesday. Results this morning show the Democratic governor and Republican challenger, Jack Ciattarelli, less than 1 percentage point apart, teetering on a razor thin margin in a race that surprised many and burst into the national spotlight.
Both campaigns cleared out of their Election Night parties early Wednesday without declaring victory or conceding, and it’s possible a winner may not be decided today.
As of 7:03 a.m. Wednesday, with 98% of the precincts in, Ciattarelli was leading Murphy by about 1,200 votes, according to totals from the Associated Press. That amounted to 49.7% for Ciattarelli and 49.6% for Murphy.
But thousands of votes — especially from Democratic-leaning areas — have yet to be counted. And it remains unclear how many vote-by-mail or provisional ballots still must be tallied.
To be clear, Murphy still has the advantage. New Jersey is still a blue state, and the ballots left to be counted will more likely tilt his direction — but it’s not certain, of course. Not to mention that it shouldn’t have been this close in the first place.
Commentators attempting to explain the inexplicable last night, both in New Jersey and in Virginia, which was a lot more explicable — tried to pass this off as just a natural replay of 2009. It’s true that both states have a history of flipping against newly elected presidents, but there’s a big difference in both states from twelve years ago. Both of them got a lot bluer over the last decade, Virginia especially so. Republicans hadn’t competed successfully for statewide votes in either state for the better part of a decade before last night. On top of that, Murphy was a relatively popular incumbent, or so it seemed. Democrats can excuse Virginia as being saddled with a terrible candidate in Terry McAuliffe, but that wasn’t the case in New Jersey.
The clear takeaway from last night is that neither candidate was good enough to overcome a red wave that got triggered by an incompetent Joe Biden, a radicalized Democratic establishment, and the fact that even blue electorates are sick and tired of mandates, wokeism, and elitist control.
That will still be true even if Murphy somehow manages to eke out a win over the next couple of days. If he does, though, Democrats had better recognize that they’re digging their own grave for the 2022 midterms and stop indulging the radical Left. Otherwise, the radical Left is all they’ll have in 2023.