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Democrat Phil Murphy narrowly wins NJ governor’s election

<h6>New Jersey’s Governor: Phil Murphy / <a href="" target="_self">Wikimedia Commons</a></h6>
New Jersey’s Governor: Phil Murphy / Wikimedia Commons

Incumbent Democrat Gov. Philip D. Murphy won reelection against Republican and former General Assembly member Jack Ciattarelli, making him the first New Jersey Democrat to win gubernatorial reelection in the past four decades. The last Democrat to do so was Brendan Byrne ’49 in 1977.

Tuesday, Nov. 2 was Election Day across the country, and there were a number of offices on the ballot in Princeton. These included elections for the Governor, State Senate and General Assembly, Town Council, and Public Schools Board, as well as two ballot initiatives involving sports betting and one involving land preservation.


The race was close — The New York Times did not call the election until 6:28 p.m. on Wednesday evening, shortly followed by AP, after Ciattarelli had been in the lead well into the early hours of Wednesday morning. Mail-in ballots, counted after election day ballots, pushed Murphy over the edge.

Murphy sat comfortably in the lead in polls days leading up to the election. In the Rutgers-Eagleton Poll, released on Nov. 1, Murphy was eight points ahead of Ciattarelli, with 50 percent of respondents indicating their support for Murphy and 42 percent for Ciattarelli.

Gregg Mele, the Libertarian Party candidate for governor, told The Daily Princetonian that he is proud of his campaign, which received 0.29 percent of the vote.

“The Libertarian Party looks forward to building on the momentum of this election season,” he said.

The ballot measures that proposed amending gaming rules to permit fundraising raffles and allocating more funding for land preservation passed. However, the measure that proposed a constitutional amendment to permit wagering on college sports or athletic events did not.

No elections in New Jersey’s 16th Legislative District have been called. Andrew Zwicker (D), a former member of the State General Assembly, is currently leading Michael Pappas (R) for the state senate seat after Republican State Senator Christopher Bateman did not run for reelection. 


Democrats Sadaf Jaffer and Roy Freiman currently lead in the race for the two open General Assembly seats over Republicans Joseph Lukac and Vincent Panico.

For the Princeton Town Council, Eve Niedergang GS ’89 and Leighton Newlin both won unopposed. 

The Princeton Public Schools Board of Education election is still too close to call, with three open seats. Incumbent Brian McDonald holds a slight lead over Mara Franceschi, Betsy Baglio, and Jeffery Lao, who each held about 24 percent of the vote. Lao is currently in fourth place.

Lao told the ‘Prince’ that he thanks McDonald, Baglio, and Franceschi for “running excellent, positive campaigns,” and that “regardless of the final outcome of the election, we are all fortunate that we have well-qualified community members willing to take on these important volunteer roles, and that we can rest assured that our children and our school district will be in good hands.”

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This piece is breaking and will continue to be updated as more information becomes available. Last updated at 7:16 p.m. Nov. 3, 2021. 

Charlie Roth is a news contributor for thePrince.He can be reached at or @imcharlieroth on Twitter or Instagram.

Lia Opperman is a news contributor for the Prince. She can be reached at or @liamariaaaa on Instagram.