Phil Murphy and Jack Ciattarelli Call for Patience Over New Jersey Result

Both candidates in the New Jersey gubernatorial election have called for patience as they wait for every vote to be counted in the race which is currently too close to call.

As of early Wednesday morning, with around 88 percent of the votes counted, GOP candidate Jack Ciattarelli is currently in the lead with 49.65 percent, just 0.05 percent over incumbent Philip Murphy, who is hoping to be the first Democrat reelected as the state's governor in 44 years.

According to the Associated Press live tracker, Ciattarelli currently has around 1,200 more votes than Murphy, as both candidates tell their supporters the race is not over until every vote is counted.

"While we're gonna have to wait a little while longer than we had hoped, we're going to wait for every vote to be counted, and that's how our democracy works," Murphy told a crowd of his supporters in Ashbury Park late Tuesday night.

"We're all sorry that tonight could not yet be the celebration that we want it to be, but as I said when every vote is counted, and every vote will be counted, we hope to have a celebration."

Murphy also told the crowd how he believes in "leading with compassion and empathy, not anger and despair," and that his policies are "following science and facts, not the political winds."

Speaking to his supporters in Bridgewater, Ciattarelli said he had "prepared one hell of a victory speech," but must wait until every vote was counted in the election.

"I wanted to come out here tonight and tell you that we won. But I'm here to tell you that we're winning," Ciattarelli said. "We want every legal vote counted. And you all know the way the VBMs [vote by mail] work and the provisionals work; we've got to have time to make sure that every legal vote is counted.

"I'm confident then when they are, I can stand before you and not say we're winning, I can stand before you and say we've won."

A victory for Ciattarelli was not predicted by virtually all polls in the run-up to the election, with a Monmouth University survey published October 27 giving Murphy an 11 percentage point lead (50 percent to 38 percent) and a Rutgers-Eagleton poll released on Tuesday stating Murphy led by eight percentage points (50 percent to 42 percent).

Murphy's campaign was also buoyed by the fact that registered Democrats outnumber Republicans by more than one million in New Jersey and President Joe Biden beat Republican Donald Trump there by 16 points in 2020.

"You know those polls?" Ciattarelli told supporters Wednesday morning. "There's only one poll that matters."

new jersey election
New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy is currently losing Republican challenger Jack Ciattarelli by less than one percent. Spencer Platt/Mark Makela/Getty Images