The tight race between Gov. Philip Murphy, D-N.J., and Jack Ciattarelli, a Republican, has been called for Murphy on Wednesday evening amid election integrity concerns plaguing the race.
With votes still being counted, the Associated Press declared Murphy the winner of the 2021 gubernatorial race for New Jersey, sparking backlash from Ciattarelli’s campaign.
With only one percentage point separating the two candidates, Republicans have been quick to label the call as premature. “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,” Ciattarelli’s spokesperson Stami Williams responded.
To address this, the RNC has deployed 20 lawyers to New Jersey to assist Ciattarelli’s team in overseeing election processes. With the nation sharply divided on the issue of election integrity, the RNC is determined to defend the legitimacy of New Jersey’s governor’s race.
These lawyers will be responsible for safeguarding the continued ballot counting process against election fraud. Additionally, the RNC lawyers could be instrumental in appealing for a recount in several districts in New Jersey.
The state has a very definitive process for initiating and requesting a recount. According to state law:
“When any candidate at any election shall have reason to believe that an error has been made in counting the votes of that election, the candidate may, within a period of 17 days following such election, apply to a judge of the Superior Court assigned to the county wherein such district or districts are located, for a recount of the votes cast at the election in any district or districts.”NJSA 19:28-1 Application for recount
In a race that was originally expected to be a blowout, Ciattarelli made significant gains in the polls during the final weeks of the 2021 election campaign. The results on Tuesday proved to be unsettling for Democrats who were confident that New Jersey was a Democrat stronghold prior to the election.
Ciattarelli held a slim lead over the incumbent governor leading into Wednesday morning. While votes continued to be counted after election night, Murphy appears to have been able to surpass the Republican challenger and hold onto his seat. Republicans, however, are cautioning patience as the votes continue to be counted in New Jersey.
The RNC has also indicated that they are willing to pursue any necessary legal procedures to ensure the integrity of the election. According to the New Jersey GOP, they have “the largest such team ever assembled” to fight against election fraud and ensure a fair outcome in the race for the governor’s seat.
Election integrity has become a significant issue in the nation in the aftermath of the 2020 presidential election. President Donald Trump has led the Republican Party’s effort to safeguard elections against increased cases of voter fraud and various other concerns that put the American elections at risk. The legal challenges facing the New Jersey election could be the next battleground for the hot topic issue of voter fraud.