Gov. Phil Murphy held his second inaugural ball last night at MetLife Stadium, celebrating his re-election to the governorship six months after he narrowly defeated Republican Jack Ciattarelli and four months after he was formally inaugurated. The event, which had more than 2,000 attendees, was initially scheduled for January but was delayed to prevent it from becoming a Covid superspreader event.
“It’s better late than never, but here we are,” Murphy told the assembled crowd in East Rutherford.
The event was hosted by New Jersey Forward, an outside group closely tied with Murphy and his allies that has not revealed its donors. Attendees paid $300 each for the chance to see Murphy, First Lady Tammy Murphy, and Lieutenant Gov. Sheila Oliver, as well as cover bands including The Nerds and Brian Kirk & The Jirks.
In 2018, Murphy’s first inaugural ball helped push Democratic fundraising to record highs as Democrats celebrated the end of unpopular former Gov. Chris Christie’s reign. This time around, the mood was perhaps less jubilant, in part because of the still-lingering Covid pandemic and in part because of the recent leaked Supreme Court draft decision overturning the constitutional right to abortion.
“They have declared war on the American woman,” Murphy said on the potential overturning of Roe v. Wade. “And we are going to fight back.”
Jon Bon Jovi remained absent for the proceedings.
The New Jersey Globe used pool reporting from the Star-Ledger’s Brent Johnson for this story.