Outgoing mail-in ballots in campaign for governor of NJ | New Jersey News
By MIKE CATALINI, Associated Press
TRENTON, NJ (AP) – The first ballots for this year’s gubernatorial contest are due to start distributing to voters by Saturday.
The return of the ballots will kick off the vote in the Nov. 2 race between Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy and former Republican Assembly Member Jack Ciattarelli.
Murphy aims to become the first Democratic incumbent to be re-elected in 44 years. Ciattarelli faces a tough climb in Democratic-leaning New Jersey, where polls show Murphy to be in the lead. The governor also has an advantage when it comes to fundraising.
The race has Murphy’s record up front and center, including his handling of the state during the COVID-19 outbreak. The state has had mixed results during the pandemic. It was an early hotspot, and until recently the disease death rate was the highest before Mississippi supplanted it. The state, however, has one of the highest vaccination rates and although cases and hospitalizations have increased this summer, New Jersey has not seen levels like the South and West.
Murphy also kept many of the promises he made during his campaign in 2017: legalize recreational marijuana, institute free community colleges and preschools, raise the minimum wage to $ 15 an hour over the years. time and fully fund the state pension. He also increased school aid and kept a campaign pledge to raise income taxes by more than $ 1 million.
His campaign says polls show the programs are popular.
Ciattarelli is betting the heavily taxed residents are willing to ditch the governor for him. He put the state, which has one of the highest, most affordable property taxes in the country, at the center of his pitch to voters. He says he wants to rewrite the state’s school funding formula to reduce property taxes, which fund education, but he hasn’t said exactly how.
Known as a moderate in the Legislature who says he supports Roe v. Wade and women’s abortion rights, Ciattarelli has veered to the right, at least rhetorically. Once skeptical of Donald Trump, he now says the former president’s policies worked. It’s a balancing act given the strong support Trump has in the GOP base, albeit difficult in a state that rejected the former president in two elections.
And unlike Murphy, who focuses on national issues in an effort to energize the Democratic base, Ciattarelli has focused on state issues, hoping to attract convincing independents and Democrats.
In addition to postal voting, New Jersey will have early in-person voting for the first time this year. It runs from October 23 through Halloween.
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