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Gov. Phil Murphy. (Photo: Kevin Sanders for the New Jersey Globe)

Murphy files with more than 51,000 signatures

Ciattarelli’s unpaid effort gathered more than 6,000, campaign says

By Nikita Biryukov, April 06 2021 12:45 pm

Gov. Phil Murphy filed for re-election with 51,367 campaign signatures, the most of any candidate in state history, his campaign said.

“I’m incredibly proud to have earned the support of an inclusive, grassroots coalition that shares our commitment to a future that is wholly different from what we inherited,” Murphy said. “Each signature represents the fire and fervor we’re seeing from Democrats across the state to build on our progress to move New Jersey forward.”

Those signatures must still be verified to ensure they were made by valid registered voters, but the final number of signatures will still likely exceed the 43,042 filed with in 2017. The governor’s 2017 filing also set a state record, eclipsing the 14,835 signatures Gov. Chris Christie filed in 2013.

There’s little measurable benefit to filing with so many signatures, though gathering them does provide a campaign with an early opportunity to test its organizing strength. They can also dissuade primary challengers, though perennial candidates Roger Bacon and Lisa McCormick, who are also seeking the Democratic nod for governor, are unlikely to pose much of a challenge to the incumbent.

“Even as we confront the challenges of a once in a century pandemic, New Jerseyans know that we can’t afford to go back to the old ways of doing things that left working and middle-class families behind,” Murphy said. “Together, we’ll continue to lay the foundation for a stronger and fairer New Jersey that works for every family.”

Republican gubernatorial frontrunner Jack Ciattarelli’s campaign said they filed more than 6,000 signatures, having put no money behind the effort to gather them.

With 2021, State Sen. Brian Stack (D-Union City) turned in the most signatures of any legislative candidate. His running mates, Assemblyman Raj Mukherji (D-Jersey City) and Annette Chaparro (D-Hoboken) filed with 1,898 signatures, the most of any Assembly candidates.

That could change. Election officials are still processing nominating petitions, and voluminous filings like Murphy’s tend to slow the process somewhat.

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