Lt. Gov. Sheila Oliver largely confirmed today that Gov. Phil Murphy will seek re-election to a second term in 2021.
There is little doubt about Murphy’s intentions, but Oliver has become he highest-ranking Murphy administration official to publicly state the governor’s intentions when she called on Democratic women to use the 2020 election to set the stage for a victory next year.
“The other reason New Jersey has to deliver – and deliver big – is because we’re coming back a few months after that and we’re going to re-elect Phil Murphy as the governor of this state,” Oliver said in an online meeting sponsored by New Jersey Women for Biden. “We must show the GOP and anybody else that New Jersey stands solidly behind the most progressive governor that New Jersey has ever had.”
So far, Murphy has eschewed questions about his own intentions to seek re-election. Now a public statement by his running mate appears to offer at least some verification that he’s running.
In an interview with POLITICO reporter Matt Friedman last month, Murphy said he was not interested in a job in the Biden administration if Democrats capture the White House this year.
There has been speculation that Murphy could leave New Jersey if the right offer came his way, although Democrats in the governor’s inner circle have dispelled that for the last two years.
If Murphy seeks re-election, he is widely expected to ask Oliver to be his running mate again – if she wants to run.
With high approval ratings for his handling of the COVID-19 crisis, even Democrats who are privately not fans of the governor acknowledge that he will be the nominee if he runs again.
Former Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli announced his candidacy for the Republican gubernatorial nomination in January. Assembly Minority Leader Jon Bramnick and Republican State Chairman Doug Steinhardt have said they are also considering a run for governor.