Top Republican says Murphy’s ‘shaking in his boots’ over upcoming election

Published: Oct. 19, 2021

Jack Ciattarelli, the Republican nominee for New Jersey governor, strode into the Burlington County GOP headquarters in Medford on Tuesday afternoon to chants of “we back Jack” as he welcomed a high-profile Republican to visit the state and back his campaign.

Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel declared it’s time “New Jersey finally has a good governor” by electing Ciattarelli in two weeks and kicking Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy out of office.

“I don’t know, I think Phil Murphy is a little bit scared right now. I think he’s shaking in his boots,” McDaniel said.

McDaniel slammed Murphy, who is seeking a second term in the Nov. 2 election, over New Jersey’s high taxes and unemployment. She said the Garden State has a worse governor than the place she calls home, Michigan, where Democrat Gov. Gretchen Whitmer holds the governor’s office.

“Peoples’ families are being hurt under Phil Murphy and everybody knows it,” McDaniel said. “This is the time where New Jersey needs to make that change.”

Ciattarelli welcomed the national Republican with open arms and the largely maskless crowd that packed the county GOP headquarters cheered him in return.

“Guess what, two weeks from today he can call me governor elect,” Ciattarelli said, referring to Murphy. “In two weeks, we’re swinging (the door) wide open and I’m marching in as your governor.”

He added: “We can win this race.”

Ciattarelli also implored his audience not to stay home because they think the election is “rigged,” something the most popular member of the party, former President Donald Trump, has called for since losing to current President Joe Biden in the last presidential election.

The event occurred the same day Vice President Kamala Harris’ husband, Doug Emhoff, visited the state to pitch vaccines and the climate change fight.

Emhoff is the latest in a string of top Democrats to make trips to the state in recent weeks. Kamala Harris appeared with Murphy nearly two weeks ago on a similar trip, and others have campaigned with the governor: First Lady Jill Biden was here last week, along with former U.S. Rep. Gabby Giffords and U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar.

The biggest name by far for Murphy will be former President Barack Obama, who will visit in Newark on Saturday, the same day early in-person voting begins for the first time in the state.

Murphy has led Ciattarelli in all public-opinion polls so far, most by double digits, though the lead has narrowed. The most recent survey, released late last month by Stockton University, showed Murphy up by 9 percentage points.

Political observers agree the final results all come down to turnout in Democratic-heavy New Jersey, where there are more than 1 million registered Democrats than Republican voters.

“Yes, he has a chance. Yes, Phil Murphy has a chance to lose,” said Ben Dworkin, director of the Rowan Institute for Public Policy and Citizenship.

“It is coming down to turnout. Murphy and Democrats have a significant numerical advantage. But that advantage dissipates if those voters don’t show up to the polls,” he said. “Both sides are spending these last two weeks trying to motivate and energize their identified supporters to go out and vote.”

And a good way to energize the base is by bringing in big names.

“As we head into final weeks, we know it’s going to be about base turnout,” said Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth Polling Institute. “The question is whether differing enthusiasm in each party will have an impact in the margin.”

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published this page in News and Politics 2021-10-20 02:45:59 -0700