Phil Murphy claims victory in NJ governor's race
On Tuesday night, voters officially elected Phil Murphy as the 56th governor of New Jersey.
The Democratic candidate maintained a double-digit lead over Republican candidate Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno throughout the gubernatorial race and ultimately claimed victory in Middlesex County by a margin of 22,000 votes. Murphy gave his victory speech in Asbury Park at 10:30 p.m.
According to The Washington Post's coverage of the New Jersey elections, Democrats also took control of both houses of the state legislature.
During a visit to Rutgers, Murphy told The Daily Targum that his priorities as governor will include raising the minimum wage to $15 per hour, ensuring that DREAMers are protected across the state, reducing the cost of higher education and legalizing recreational marijuana.
At the end of election night, Murphy held 55.9 percent of votes, according to The New York Times.
This wide margin of this victory was predicted by most major polling websites, based on Gov. Chris Christie’s lack of popularity and the fact that the state has not voted red in a presidential election for more than 30 years. In the weeks leading up to last night, however, Murphy's lead in the polls closed from 25 points to 15 points.
New Jersey was one of only two states to elect a governor last night, meaning most of the nation had their eyes on this race, said Elizabeth Matto, the director of the Center for Youth Political Participation at the Eagleton Institute of Politics.
“These sorts of races are seen as opportunities to get a sense of what voters are thinking and which way they are leaning politically as we look ahead to midterm elections," Matto said. “They reflect ahead to the national political mood.”
On the campaign trail, Murphy made it clear that he intends to move away from the policies of his predecessor, whose eight-year tenure ended with a record-breaking 14 percent approval rating.
“I have a lot of interest in defending the interests of all 9 million residents of the State of New Jersey,” Murphy said.