New Jersey’s race for governor

The 2021 gubernatorial election is to take place on November 2


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Murphy and Ciattarelli

Lauren Noble, News Editor

Democratic incumbent Governor Phil Murphy is running for re-election in the upcoming New Jersey election next week, campaigning against Republican candidate Jack Ciattarelli as well as third-party candidates Madelyn Hoffman of the Green Party, Joanne Juniansky of the Socialist Workers Party and Gregg Mele of the Libertarian Party.

New Jersey’s government website reports that New Jersey currently offers three options of voting for registered voters. Those voting by mail can drop their ballots at a secure ballot drop box location or their county’s Board of Elections office prior to 8 p.m. on November 2. The ballot can also be mailed out but postmarks must be made on or before 8 p.m. of election day and be received by the county’s Board of Elections by November 8. In-person voting will take place at your local polling places, open between 6 a.m. and 8 p.m. on November 2. The final and newest voting option is early in-person voting, which started on October 23. Locations are open 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays, and  10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sundays. Early in-person voting will be closed on October 31 and this option does not require an appointment.

Rancocas Valley students who are of voting age are excited to cast their ballots and take part in their civic duties, many for the first time.

“I’m pretty excited to vote for the first time,” said senior Cole Jorgensen. “I remember doing a practice election in fourth grade where we [cast] ballots and now that I’m actually partaking [it’s] crazy. I plan on voting in-person on election day.”

Governor Phil Murphy’s democratic reelection campaign highlights his effective response during the COVID-19 pandemic, specifically his establishment of testing sites, federal aid distribution, and his vaccination campaigns.

Murphy said that his response during COVID-19 ‘led New Jersey from being one of the hardest-hit states by COVID-19 to a national model in pandemic response.’”

Murphy also emphasizes education as a priority in his campaign, claiming that he plans to expand digital device access for students, increase preschool funding and establish a program allowing low-income students to receive two years of tuition-free education at public colleges and universities. Furthermore, Murphy, being an abortion-rights supporter, wants to sign the Reproductive Freedom Act into law if reelected.

AP News reports that “Murphy’s budgets have grown each year while in office, culminating in a spending plan of more than $46 billion, 15% higher than the previous year.” Murphy has instituted many programs in favor of New Jerseyans over the course of his term, resulting in higher taxes, more so for individuals and businesses earning more than $1 million.

Murphy’s campaign page highlights his endorsements for his 2021 reelection campaign: education, environment, equality and justice, faith, first responders, gun safety, health care, labor, press, progressive coalitions and women.

Primary republican candidate Jack Ciattarelli’s campaign is focusing largely on tax reduction. If elected, he claims to reduce property taxes for all income brackets and freeze property taxes for those over 65. Ciattarelli contests Murphy’s high budget, saying that it needs to be cut and would do so on “day one” if elected. Ciattarelli does favor abortion rights, but he is also supportive of a ban on abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy. 

Ciattarelli’s campaign page displays his campaign slogan, “It’s time for common sense. It’s time to solve our problems. It’s time to build the New Jersey we deserve.” His page also illustrates his plan if elected: lower property taxes, strengthen economy, stand with law enforcement, prioritize rights and freedom, combat anti-semitism and prejudice, affordable healthcare, freedom for freelancers, improve education, affordable energy and clean environment, revitalize New Jersey cities and honor and thank veterans. Additional details for each step of Ciattarelli’s plan are available on his campaign website.

According to Crowd Wisdom, the gap between Murphy and Ciattarelli has condensed from 19% from May through August to 11% in September, and down to 7% in October, with Murphy in the lead. The race between the candidates is gearing up to be more competitive than originally thought, though likely to end in Murphy’s favor with New Jersey’s historically democratic voting.