Incumbent Democratic governor of the U.S. state of New Jersey Phil Murphy was reported Wednesday by U.S. media to have won a second term, edging out Republican candidate Jack Ciattarelli by a less-than-one-point margin, Trend reports citing Xinhua.
The Associated Press called the election, which had been a nail-biter throughout Election Night on Tuesday, for Murphy, projecting that the former Goldman Sachs executive won by a 50-49.2 margin with 90 percent of precincts reporting. Murphy became the state's first Democratic governor to win re-election since 1977.
During his campaign, Murphy cast himself as an effective manager during the COVID-19 pandemic, while tying his opponent to former U.S. President Donald Trump, who lost to Joe Biden by more than 15 percentage points in New Jersey in the 2020 presidential election.
A former state assemblyman who had been taking the lead for much of the night by a razor-thin margin, Ciattarelli kept Trump at arm's length, campaigning as a moderate on issues including the economy, education, and opposition to masking and mandatory vaccination during the pandemic.
"We're all sorry that tonight cannot yet be the celebration we want it to be," Murphy, 64, told supporters early Wednesday morning when the race was too close to call. "We hope to have a celebration," he added.