Republican Jack Ciattarelli’s campaign says it’s “irresponsible” the Associated Press called the New Jersey race for Democrat governor Phil Murphy so early in the counting.
“With the candidates separated by a fraction of a percent out of 2.4 million ballots cast, it’s irresponsible of the media to make this call when the New Jersey Secretary of State doesn’t even know how many ballots are left to be counted,” Ciattarelli Campaign Communications Director Stami Williams said on Twitter Wednesday.
With the candidates separated by a fraction of a percent out of 2.4 million ballots cast, it’s irresponsible of the media to make this call when the New Jersey Secretary of State doesn’t even know how many ballots are left to be counted. https://t.co/DnwIRASspC
— Stami Williams (@StamiLW) November 3, 2021
Both the Associated Press and the New York Times called the race in favor of Phil Murphy on Wednesday evening when he led Ciattarelli by just over 19,000 votes. Since then, with 90 percent reporting, Murphy’s lead has widened to over 29,000 votes.
The delay in having the race called likely stemmed from a snafu out of Essex County, where a poll worker mistakenly shut off voting machines in 56 districts before the count had finished.
“A mistake by a poll worker led machines in 56 voting districts in Essex County, the state’s second-most populated region, to be turned off before their ballots were tallied, local election officials said,” reported the New York Post.
Beyond Essex County, Passaic County had similar voting issues in five districts that heavily leaned toward Murphy, which likely delayed the call into Wednesday.
Despite Murphy’s projected victory, Democrats are fretting over how close Ciattarelli came to pulling off an upset in a race that had him down by 11 points just a week ago, with the Washington Post warning Democrats the poor turnout could be a harbinger of doom for 2022.
“New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy narrowly won his race for a second term Wednesday night, to the relief of Democrats stunned by their loss in Virginia, but the narrow margin and a strong Republican surge across the Garden State left them alarmed and wondering what went wrong,” WaPo noted.
Former U.S. Senator Robert G. Torricelli (D-N.J.) said the election results showed Democrats lost “persuadable” voters in the Garden State.
“I think the base was fine,” Torricelli said. “This wasn’t the base. It was the persuadable voters.”