the staff of the Ridgewood blog
Trenton NJ, with Virginia’s governor race getting all the national attention, the sleeper election this year is in New Jersey where Governor Phil Murphy is running for re-election.
Republican Jack Ciattarelli has relentlessly attacked Murphy’s record and reduced the gap between them from 26 points in May to only 6 points – and only 4 with leaners – in the latest Emerson/Channel 11 poll. Despite Murphy’s overwhelming spending advantage, the Republican has pounded on his COVID lockdown policies (Murphy imitated New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and sent COVID patients into nursing homes with devastating results).
But taxes are Murphy’s Achilles Heel. New Jersey has the highest property tax rate in the U.S. and the 3rd highest personal income tax rate. Those factors have helped make the Garden State the most moved-out-of-state in the country.
A majority (51%) of New Jersey likely voters in the Emerson poll believe cutting taxes should be the first priority for the next Governor. Ciattarelli has a solid plan to lower property taxes, lower the state’s income tax rate and index rates and exemptions to account for inflation.
This is a heavily Democratic state, so Murphy has all the advantages, but the fact that the race has become so close in a state where Donald Trump won only 41 percent of the vote in 2020 shows just how much Biden’s lurch to the far left has moved even “safe” Democrats in the danger zone.
Murphy’s Saturday rally with Former President Obama drew only a few hundred people for the governor, on the very same day, the former President brought in over 2,000 people to the Terry McAuliffe rally in Virginia.
Now, with just one week left, Murphy is bringing in Senator Bernie Sanders to see if he can work his magic to turn out a base that seems less than enthusiastic to go to the polls for him. In bringing him to the Garden State, Murphy is truly wrapping up his campaign on the theme that started it: if you want tax relief from some of the highest, most punitive taxes in the country, you should just leave our state.