Former President Barack Obama joined Gov. Phil Murphy for a rally in Newark today, the latest and most high-profile in a series of visits from national Democrats hosted by Murphy’s re-election campaign.
“I’m here today, New Jersey, because I believe you will make the right choice,” Obama said. “I believe you’re going to show the rest of the country and the world that we’re not going to indulge our worst instincts… We’re going to move forward.”
Obama and Murphy are longtime allies; Obama appointed Murphy to be Ambassador to Germany in 2009, and campaigned for the now-governor in 2017.
“I supported him when he ran for governor four years ago, because I knew he would make the people of New Jersey proud,” Obama said. “And that’s exactly what he’s done.”
Today’s rally also featured a number of prominent Essex County Democrats, among them Mayor Ras Baraka, State Sen. Teresa Ruiz (D-Newark), Rep. Donald Payne, Jr. (D-Newark), and state Democratic Party Chairman LeRoy Jones.
Baraka in particular harshly criticized Republican gubernatorial nominee Jack Ciattarelli as regressive and extremist.
“We can’t go back with Jack!” Baraka exclaimed. “He wants to make our communities as lame as he is!”
Last week, the Murphy campaign brought First Lady Jill Biden and Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff for campaign events; on Monday, President Joe Biden will travel to the state, though his visit will be an official one.
The state’s new early voting period debuted today, and both Murphy and Ciattarelli have begun making trips up and down the state to encourage their volunteers and turn out their voters. With that in mind, both Murphy and Obama encouraged supporters to vote early, and to get their friends and families to do the same.
“Go out there,” Obama implored. “Fight. Work. You are going to decide this election and the direction of New Jersey and this country for generations to come – do not sit this one out.”