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Drumthwacket, the official residence of the governor. (Photo: NJ Globe File Photo).

This week in the gubernatorial race

Mandates in child care facilities, a new Monmouth poll, and more

By Joey Fox, September 24 2021 4:13 pm

Murphy to toddlers: Don’t show your face ’round these parts

Gov. Phil Murphy announced a pair of new mandates in child care centers on Monday, one of which orders child care workers to either get vaccinated or submit to testing by November 1, and the other which requires everyone in child care facilities – including employees, visitors, and children over age two – to wear a mask beginning today.

The latter policy was quickly pilloried by Republicans, with one state senator going so far as to call it “child abuse.” But Murphy’s handling of Covid, including his masking and distancing mandates, have tended to receive high marks in polls, and the latest requirement may well be no different.

Advertisements: “State ails,” Ciattarelli wails as he nails Murphy’s fails

Republican nominee Jack Ciattarelli launched a new TV ad on Thursday targeting Murphy on taxation, spending, and ongoing delays at the state Motor Vehicle Commission. “Phil Murphy’s failed us at every turn,” Ciattarelli narrates in the ad, which is fittingly titled “Failed.” “He’s increased spending $11 billion. Are you better off?”

Polls: Monmouth gives Ciattarelli an unlucky deficit

The Monmouth University Polling Institute, based in New Jersey and widely considered among the nation’s best pollsters, gave Murphy a 13-point lead on Wednesday, 51-38%. While that’s a narrower margin for the incumbent than the 52-36% lead he held in Monmouth’s August poll, it’s not necessarily good news for Ciattarelli, who would have wanted to make up far more ground in the last month.

The Ciattarelli campaign also released its own internal poll on Saturday from National Research Inc. showing Murphy with a far smaller 45-42% advantage. So far, only Republican-financed polls have shown the race as being particularly close, with all independent polling aligning with Monmouth’s results.

Endorsements: Political animals back Murphy

Murphy was endorsed on Wednesday by the National Wildlife Federation, a prominent national wildlife advocacy group which called the governor “a critical ally for wildlife conservation.”

The governor also got the backing today of the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades, District Council 711, a union representing painters and other related trades. The endorsement is not hugely surprising, given that the union backed Murphy in 2017 and one of its top officials served on his transition team.

Finally, Murphy was endorsed on Monday by the International Union of Elevator Constructors Local One, which represents around 3,000 New Jersey and New York elevator and escalator construction workers.

Fundraising: 65% of the way to paradise

ELEC distributed a further $1.5 million in matching funds to the gubernatorial candidates today, with Ciattarelli receiving $744,616 and Murphy $730,566. 65% of all available ELEC funds have now been distributed; Murphy is 78% of the way to the maximum, while Ciattarelli is only 53% of the way there.

Coming soon: The first debate finally arrives

At long last, the first debate is here. Next Tuesday, September 28, at 7 p.m., Murphy and Ciattarelli will meet head to head at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark. A week later, on October 5 at 7 p.m., the New Jersey Globe will host its own lieutenant gubernatorial debate between Lieutenant Gov. Sheila Oliver and former State Sen. Diane Allen.

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