Republican Jack Ciattarelli is expected to concede his defeat in the New Jersey Governor’s race at a 1 PM on Friday, the New Jersey Globe has confirmed.
Ciattarelli trails Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy by 73,778 votes in a race that turned out substantially closer than independent public opinion polls showed it would be.
A former assemblyman from Somerset County, Ciattarelli will make his announcement from the municipal building in Raritan, where he launched his political career as a borough councilman in 1989.
Ciattarelli is expected to say that the votes were counted fairly and will take steps to urge his supporters to remain calm and accept the results of the election.
Murphy now becomes the first Democratic governor to win re-election to a second term since Brendan Byrne did it in 1977. In a state with more than a million more Democrats than Republicans, the GOP elected and re-elected three governors since Byrne’s re-election.
On election night, the race was too close to call. Both candidates went home without knowing the results.
Over the nine days – there are still scattered provisional and vote-by-mail ballots still uncounted – Murphy has steadily built a narrow but clear lead. He claimed victory on Wednesday night, after some news organizations called the race, but Ciattarelli chose to wait for more votes to be counted.
Murphy leads 1,304,876 to 1,231,098, 51.06% to 48.17% — a difference of 2.89%.
It’s still not clear how many votes are left to be counted – there are still some outstanding cure letters to correct VBM ballot deficiencies that are due no later than Saturday.