TRENTON, N.J. (CBS/AP) — Voters in New Jersey headed to the polls Tuesday for the Garden State’s primary election. The big race is for governor, where four Republicans ran to try to challenge Gov. Phil Murphy.

Jack Ciattarelli, the small business founder and former Assembly member, won New Jersey’s Republican primary for governor Tuesday, defeating rivals who claimed former President Donald Trump’s mantle.

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Gov. Phil Murphy has won the Democratic primary, all but a formality since he ran unopposed. Tuesday’s victory sets him up for a fall reelection campaign where his handling of COVID-19 and his first term will be front and center. Murphy won his first ever election in 2017 becoming New Jersey’s 56th governor.

Ciattarelli defeated three challengers, two of whom promoted themselves as vocal Trump supporters. They were Hirsh Singh, an engineer from Atlantic County and Hudson County pastor and former real estate developer Phil Rizzo. Both men invoked the president as part of their efforts to win over the GOP vote in Democratic-leaning New Jersey.

But Ciattarelli won on the strength of his support among many in the party establishment, who delivered him coveted ballot position across the state. He’s also cultivated a following since four years ago when he lost the GOP nomination to then Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno. Ciattarelli signaled his plans to take on Murphy early — almost as soon as Murphy took office in 2018.

Despite attacks from Rizzo and Singh, Ciattarelli refuted that he didn’t support Trump, even buying 3,000 Trump-Pence lawn signs.

Responding to critiques that he was a “never-Trumper,” Ciattarelli said he changed his mind since criticizing Trump early on.


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In the race for Camden mayor, Acting Mayor Victor Carstarphen won the Democratic primary, fending off Elton Custis and Luis Quinones.

There is no Republican candidate.


In the race for Atlantic City mayor, incumbent Marty Small defeated challenger Tom Foley in the Democratic primary.

Small will face Tom Forkin in November. He ran unopposed.

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(© Copyright 2021 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)