Gov. Phil Murphy hasn’t spoken with the remaining two Democratic presidential candidates about the troubles New Jersey faces amidst the COVID-19 crisis.
“I have not spoken with either Joe Biden or Bernie Sanders,” Murphy said. “Nothing personal, by the way, I just haven’t spoken with them.”
As of Tuesday afternoon, New Jersey had 44,416 confirmed COVID-19 cases, lagging behind only New York’s more than 138,000.
It’s not likely that their absence in New Jersey will impact either candidates chances at winning the state in the primary or general elections, but both the candidates and individual states could be well-served by advice informed by experience.
“When you consider that Joe Biden has pretty famously spoken to President Trump in recent days and offered his thoughts and his advice and his suggestions, I think it’s certainly something that you might hope he would doing with governors as well,” said Micah Rasmussen, director of Rider University’s Rebovich Institute for New Jersey Politics.
During a press briefing Monday, Trump said he and Biden spoke for approximately 15 minutes, with the former vice president offering advice about how to respond to the crisis.
Biden was vice president during the 2014 Ebola outbreak and, along with Sanders, served in the Senate during the 2003 SARS outbreak.
“I guess former Vice President Biden is in a different category because he’s helped preside over national emergencies, so you might put him in a different category as Sen. Sanders, but certainly to the extent that he’s got thoughts or he’s got suggestions, I think New Jersey would welcome them,” Rasmussen said.
“I certainly think New Jersey could use all the help it can get at this point. I think Gov. Murphy would probably agree with that sentiment,” he said. “If anybody’s got any good ideas at this point, we should hear them. People should make them known.”
New Jersey’s primaries are still tenuously scheduled for June 2, though Murphy is expected to announce he will move that date to July 7 as early as tomorrow.
Details about that plan are still in flux, and it’s likely details could change before the announcement comes.
While it’s not likely the race between Biden, a former vice president, and Sanders, a U.S. senator, will continue into July, it’s also not impossible.