Jack Ciattarelli to Concede to Phil Murphy in NJ Governor’s Race – NBC…

Jack Ciattarelli, the Republican candidate for New Jersey governor who smashed expectations of a big loss by nearly dramatically incumbent Gov. Phil Murphy on Nov. 2, will finally concede, according to his campaign.

Ciattarelli surprised many, including New Jersey pollsters who later apologized, for his strong showing on Election Day earlier this month.

He held off conceding to Murphy for days while the final provisional and mail-in ballots were counted already though he trailed by 2.6%. The difference amounts to more than 65,000 votes. Unlike other politicians in recent times, however, neither he nor his campaign ever questioned the results or claimed voter fraud.

Ciattarelli, a former state assemblyman from central New Jersey, will concede in a speech Friday, a campaign source said. He will speak at 1 p.m. in Raritan.

“Let me be clear, no one on this team is alleging fraud or malfeasance, as we have not seen any credible evidence of that,” said Ciattarelli’s legal counsel Mark Sheridan in a statement last week.

Ciattarelli campaigned on a mix of traditional issues, like lowering the state’s high character taxes, in addition as against COVID-19 mandates.

Murphy became that first Democrat to win reelection as governor in 44 years. He focused principally on the progressive agenda he delivered in his first term, including higher taxes on the wealthy and a boosted minimum wage, among other programs.

Ciattarelli said last week that it was too early to concede the election or declare victory. He also urged supporters not to believe unfounded conspiracies and said the consequence — no matter the outcome — would be fair.

Murphy’s victory was a bright identify for Democrats nationally, though the party lost the Virginia governor’s race already after President Joe Biden carried the state by double digits in last year’s election against Donald Trump.

Despite Murphy’s win, Republicans had an unexpected and important victory in the Legislature, defeating Senate President Steve Sweeney and dramatically officials across the state.

The Associated Press contributed reporting to this story.

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