By: Enzo Whetton
On November 2nd, New Jerseyans will be faced with a choice between two gubernatorial candidates: Democrat incumbent Phil Murphy and Republican candidate Jack Ciattarelli. Murphy is serving his first term as New Jersey’s governor after beating Republican candidate Kim Guadagno in 2017.
Phil Murphy, before being elected in 2017, served as the United States ambassador to Germany under President Obama from 2009 to 2013, and he sat as the National Finance Chair on the Democratic National Committee from 2006 to 2009. Before his political career, Murphy was an executive at Goldman Sachs, an investment banking group.
Jack Ciattarelli is looking to oust Murphy after just one term. After fending off other republican candidates like Philip Rizzo and Hirsh Singh in the primary election, he has his eyes set on the governorship. For seven years (from 2011 to 2018), he represented New Jersey’s District 16 in the New Jersey General Assembly, and he served as the Assistant Minority Whip from 2014-20.
Historically, it has been hard for Democrats to win reelection in this seat. The last time it occured was in 1977, and Democrats have been beaten twice after just one term by a Republican. Phil Murphy is looking to change that, and so far his campaign has been going strong. The average poll from September 13 to September 25 has Murphy beating Ciattarelli by 8.4%, with the former at 48.7% and the latter at 40.3%. Ciattarelli is by no means out of this race, but he needs to do some last minute catching up if he wants to pass Murphy.
This election has great importance because of its implications in New Jersey’s governmental structure. Right now, both of New Jersey’s legislative houses have a Democratic majority with a Democratic governor. Should Murphy win, this would allow Democrats to push through more policies which align with their political beliefs without much partisan pushback. If Ciattarelli wins, however, the likelihood of debate and compromise increases and both the Democratic legislature and Republican governor would have to work together to pass anything.
For some JCHS students, this is also the first election in which they can participate and make their voices heard! November 2nd is coming soon, and this election looks to be a close race, so every vote matters.