No one paid much attention to the New Jersey governor’s race because it’s now a deep-blue state (President Biden won it by 16 points), incumbent Phil Murphy isn’t particularly disliked and Republican challenger Jack Ciattarelli is an unknown former Assemblyman. Murphy was expected to win by double digits, or high single digits. A bookmaker rated Murphy a 1/10 favorite in mid-October.
So it’s a surprise that 10 o’clock came and the race was still too close to be called. With 40 percent of the vote counted in the famously well-managed state, Ciattarelli has a lead of about 5,000 votes. A Ciattarelli win would be an earthquake whose magnitude would dwarf the result of the Virginia governor’s race, but even a close loss should send red lights flashing in Democratic Party offices around the country. At any event, the New Jersey GOP is apparently not dead yet.