Phil Murphy is a baseball fan, so he knows the old cliche about playing hard every day and making every at bat count.
In other words, just do your job.
And that – doing your job – is precisely the point of the governor’s first TV commercial of the fall campaign.
Murphy is pictured walking with a host of people and asking himself what his job is.
And he’s quick to answer – “Moving New Jersey Forward.”
What does that mean?
The governor tells us that among other things, it means the best public schools in the nation, a strong economy and a cleaner environment.
The 30-second spot ends with the governor saying, “We’re not going back.”
Murphy looks pretty relaxed in the ad, strolling along with a bunch of happy people, his tie loosened and his sleeves rolled up.
There’s probably a reason for that. Murphy was up by 16 points over Republican Jack Ciattarelli in a recent Monmouth University poll.
Ciattarelli last week circulated a poll by the Club for Growth, a pro-business group, that had the race essentially tied. Partisan polls, however, can be very unreliable. Still, it will be interesting to see what the next non-partisan poll reveals.
As befits someone who knows he’s in the lead, Murphy’s ad is positive and makes no mention of Ciattarelli.
It does stress two themes that you can expect to pop up again over the next seven weeks.
They are, as Murphy says, “protecting our right to vote and our right to choose.”
This is hardly an accident. Many Republican-controlled states have moved to limit voting opportunities and Texas just enacted a law that critics say essentially bans abortion.
Murphy doubtless will try to link Ciattarelli, who says he is pro-life, to what just happened in Texas and to voter suppression.
Interestingly, Ciattarelli was asked about the Texas law during a meeting with residents last week in Kenilworth. He said he didn’t know enough about it to comment.
Moving to a New Jersey issue, the Republican has criticized Murphy’s response to the recent storm. He says legislative hearings are needed. The death toll from the storm has now risen to 30.
Asked about that today, the governor didn’t address the call for hearings, but he did say a post mortem was needed.
And that is not unusual.
Murphy said that after major storms and certainly when deaths occur, “We look at everything and assess.”