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New Jersey gubernatorial candidate Ciattarelli refuses to concede, truck driver upsets state senate president

Nov 04, 2021


Despite the Associated Press calling the New Jersey gubernatorial race for Governor Phil Murphy Wednesday evening, challenger Jack Ciattarelli had yet to concede as of early Thursday afternoon. AP said it called the race, “when a new batch of votes from Republican-leaning Monmouth County increased Murphy’s lead and closed the door to a Ciattarelli comeback”. The video above shows Gov. Murphy’s victory speech, as well as Ciatarelli’s response.

“With the candidates separated by a fraction of a percent out of 2.4 million ballots cast, it’s irresponsible of the media to make this call when the New Jersey Secretary of State doesn’t even know how many ballots are left to be counted,” Ciattarelli spokesperson Stami Williams said on Twitter in response to AP’s call.

A major reason Ciattarelli has yet to concede is that the gubernatorial race is much closer than expected. The GOP candidate raised nearly as much money as Gov. Murphy. Murphy’s win serves as a silver lining for Democrats after GOP businessman Glenn Youngkin defeated Terry McAuliffe in Virginia’s gubernatorial race. Murphy’s win was also historic.

“I am humbled to be the first Democratic governor re-elected in the great state of New Jersey since my dear friend, the late governor Brendan Byrne, did this in 1977,” Murphy said in a victory speech Wednesday night. “Thank you for putting your trust in our team for another four years.”

Murphy will have a new Senate president in his state’s legislature after a shocking upset was called Thursday. Republican furniture company truck driver Edward Durr ousted longtime Democratic State Senate President Steve Sweeney.

“It is stunning and shocking and I cannot figure it out,” Democratic Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg said in an interview. The upset threw the selection of party leadership into limbo, with Sweeney expected to return as Senate president. A meeting that was set for Thursday had to be postponed.

What was even more surprising about the upset was how Durr did it. According to an Election Law Enforcement Commission document filed online on Thursday, Durr only spent $2,300 on his campaign. Earlier reports had said he only spent $153.31. In an interview with, Durr described how unlikely he viewed his victory to be.

“I joked with people and I said, ‘I’m going to shock the world, I’m going to beat this man,’” Durr said Wednesday afternoon. “I was saying it, but really kind of joking. Because what chance did a person like me really stand against this man? He’s literally the second-most powerful person in the state of New Jersey.”

It’s unclear who will become the next Senate president. If Democrats maintain control of the chamber, as incomplete results show they could do, then Democratic senators will meet to choose their next leader.

Coming into Election Day, Democrats had controlled the state Assembly with 52 seats to Republicans’ 28. In the state Senate, Democrats had 25 seats to the Republicans’ 15.

Gov. Phil Murphy, (D) New Jersey: “I am humbled to be the first Democratic governor re-elected in the great state of New Jersey since my dear friend, the late governor Brendan Byrne, did this in 1977. Thank you, New Jersey. Thank you for putting your trust in our team for another four years. Thank you for saying we need to keep moving forward on our shared journey to a stronger and fairer New Jersey.”

“So tonight I renew my promise to you, whether you voted for me or not to work every single day of the next four years to keep moving us forward. Forward with renewed optimism to ensure greater opportunities for all 9.3 million who call the Garden State their home. And so, importantly, forward with a deeper sense of fairness and a commitment to equity. Forward by rejecting the divisiveness and chaos that permeate too much of our politics. In short, forward living up to our Jersey values.”

“We lead, in common sense gun safety. And in recovering from the awful scourge of COVID by following science. And in rebuilding from COVID by bringing people together and helping small businesses get back on their feet. And by always remembering every single soul taken by this pandemic.”

“If you want to know what the future looks like folks, come to New Jersey. If you want to understand where America is heading, look to New Jersey. And if you want to be governor of all of New Jersey, you must listen to all of New Jersey. And New Jersey, I hear you.”

Jack Ciattarelli, (R) Candidate for Governor: “Currently, Governor Murphy and I are separated by about one percent after two point four million ballots counted. There are still tens of thousands of vote by mail and provisional ballots yet to be counted. And so the governor’s victory speech last night was premature. No one should be declaring victory or conceding the election until every legal vote is counted.”

“Here is where we stand. First, we’re going to allow the 21 counties to continue with the process of counting every legal vote by mail and provisional ballot. That could take another week or two. And we’ve got compliance people watching over that.”

“I don’t want people falling victim to wild conspiracy theories or online rumors. While consideration is paid to any and all credible reports, please don’t believe everything you see or read online.”

“Right now, what’s most important is for everyone to be patient and let the process play out. Know this, my team is comprised of some of the best legal and political experts in the country. I promise you, whatever the outcome, the election result will be legal and fair. You have my word.”

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