PHILADELPHIA (CBS/AP) — Voters have chosen Phil Murphy to be the next governor of the State of New Jersey, CBS News projects.
Murphy, a Democrat, beat out Republican Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno to succeed Gov. Chris Christie, who was elected in 2009 and re-elected in 2013.
Murphy was a former Goldman Sachs executive and ambassador to Germany under former President Barack Obama. He has never held office before, but served as Democratic National Committee finance chairman under Howard Dean.
His campaign revolved around fully funding the public pension and schools. He’s promised to jump-start the state’s economy but has offered scant specifics on how to achieve that. He has said he would raise taxes by $1.3 billion to help pay for his program changes. That includes hiking income taxes on millionaires, legalizing and taxing marijuana and closing corporate tax loopholes.
Murphy racked up a huge lead in polls. He cast himself as a check on President Donald Trump, who lost the state to Hillary Clinton in the presidential race. He also pinned his campaign on Christie’s low approval ratings and linked Guadagno to Christie at nearly every opportunity.
Those moves, combined with the nearly 900,000-voter registration advantage Democrats have over Republicans in New Jersey and Murphy’s huge cash advantage, had Guadagno running as an underdog despite having helped govern the state as Christie’s deputy for the past eight years.
Murphy, after voting in Middletown on Tuesday, said the election was a referendum on the economy, which he described as “not strong.”
“It’s not fair, it doesn’t work for enough people and that’s what this is about,” he said.
Guadagno, after voting with her family in Monmouth Beach, said she was excited and believed momentum was building.
“We’ve been on a bus for five days talking to the people of New Jersey, and they say the same thing: They can’t afford more taxes, and they can’t afford a less safe state,” she said, “so we’re feeling very excited about today.”
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