‘If You Want to Understand Where America is Heading, Look to New Jersey’


ASBURY PARK – Phil Murphy began his delayed victory speech tonight with a joke.

“You know, we just had the most New Jersey experience,” he said. “I was on my way some place and it took us longer to get there than we planned,” he said.

The crowd didn’t really react.

Oh well, as we said, this was a victory speech 24 hours after it was supposed to happen.

On that score, the Murphy campaign deserves credit for rounding up a nice crowd to come to a 10 p.m. speech. The governor was not projected the winner until early evening.

Murphy highlighted the achievements of his administration including a higher minimum wage, support for women’s reproductive rights, raising income taxes on the wealthy, expanding paid family leave and taking steps to combat climate change.

He basically skipped over the fact that his speech was delayed, not by any external catastrophe, but because on Tuesday night, he was losing the race to Jack Ciattarelli.

How the closeness of this race impacts the Murphy agenda over the next four years remains to be seen.

He did note that he is the first Democratic governor to get reelected since Brendan Byrne in 1977.

And he quoted a line from Byrne’s second inaugural address.

“We shall be judged in the long run, not by how we fared in elections, but by what we did as an administration.”

In the short run, it will be interesting to see what Ciattarelli says next. His campaign released a statement four hours ago saying it’s “irresponsible” to project a winner with votes still left to be counted.

Murphy’s rather short speech included a line meant to elevate the state he will continue to lead.

“If you want to understand where America is heading, look to New Jersey.”

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