Five days after he declared victory and the Associated Press called the gubernatorial election in his favor, Gov. Phil Murphy today called the lack of concession from his Republican opponent Jack Ciattarelli “dangerous” and “not what America is about,” echoing similar messaging released by his campaign this morning.
“When it’s mathematically impossible to win, I think it’s dangerous” to not concede, Murphy said. “I think it’s bigger than winning or losing, it gets to questioning what it is to be an American and respect the institutions that we count on as a society, including democracy.”
The Ciattarelli camp has argued that all the votes should be counted before either side declares victory or admits defeat, but Murphy said such reasoning doesn’t make sense if there is no path for Ciattarelli to win.
“There’s a difference between conceding and counting every vote,” he said. “We’re going to count every vote, that’s never been in question. That’s going to happen. But I think it’s incredibly dangerous when it’s mathematically impossible.
Yet Murphy had kinder words for Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-West Deptford), who still has not conceded to Republican Edward Durr despite the AP calling the race for Durr. Sweeney’s reasoning – that he’ll wait for all the votes to be counted – is nearly identical to Ciattarelli’s, but Murphy said that “we should have the respect to let that play out” before abandoning Sweeney and finding a new Senate President.
“I don’t know the math on Steve’s race,” he said. “I had the impression that there was a shot. There is no shot in our race. That’s the difference. But I defer to the Senate President on that one.”