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Shocker in NJ: Governor Race Can't Be Called Yet

It's 'virtually deadlocked' with 98% of precincts in
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 3, 2021 7:45 AM CDT
Shocker in NJ: Governor Race Can't Be Called Yet
Jack Ciattarelli, Republican candidate for New Jersey governor, speaks at his election night party in Bridgewater, N.J., early Wednesday, Nov. 3, 2021.   (AP Photo/Stefan Jeremiah)

(Newser) – New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy was "once seen as a shoo-in" for another go-round as governor, reports NJ.com. Even as his hefty edge narrowed in recent days, polls still had him up 4 to 11 percentage points over Republican challenger Jack Ciattarelli, the state has 1 million more registered Democrats than registered Republicans, and he had more cash. The reality looks a whole lot different. As of this writing, the state's governor race remains "virtually deadlocked," as the AP puts it, with Ciattarelli ahead by 0.1 percentage points, or about 1,200 votes.

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Some 98% of precincts are in, but it's possible Wednesday could end without the race being decided: There are thousands of votes still expected from Democrat-heavy areas, and the number of uncounted vote-by-mail or provisional ballots is unclear. The AP has more on the mood: "At Murphy's election night party in Asbury Park's convention hall, the crowd went from cheering early results reported on TV to milling around the cavernous venue and checking their phones. At Ciattarelli's camp in Bridgewater, the crowd was breaking out into periodic cheers."

Ciattarelli called out the implications of the results, saying on Wednesday, "The great news, guys, is we have sent the message to the people of New Jersey. And although it was not my intention, we have sent the message to the entire country." Indeed, Politico notes Joe Biden won the state with a 16-point edge over Donald Trump just a year ago. The last time a Democrat was reelected governor in the state was in 1977. (The only other state to elect a governor on Tuesday was Virginia, with stunning results.)

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