TRENTON, NJ – Governor Phil Murphy is the incumbent Democrat candidate for Governor in 2021, but as of now, there’s no guarantee he will run on the party line in all 21 counties in the state. There’s an obvious rift in the New Jersey Democrat Party between the moderates and the hardcore liberals, to which Murphy is a member. Many suspect Senator Steve Sweeney, the Democrat leader of the party-controlled state Senate. On Wednesday, when asked about party endorsements, Governor Murphy sidestepped the question.
“The only thing I’ve declared is that I’m running again and I’m enthusiastically doing so, incredibly honored and humbled to hold this position and I’m going to seek reelection. Beyond that, no other details,” Murphy said.
Murphy, despite being the protagonist to New Jersey’s right is the favored candidate to win the 2021 election at this point, even if he has to fight a bloody intra-party primary battle to get there. If Sweeney runs in the 2021 primary, that could be the race of the year, not the November contest. Despite the right’s hatred towards Murphy, Democrats outnumber Republicans and at this point, no “Christie” type of candidate has emerged from the party to challenge Murphy.
Jack Ciattarelli right now is the Republican front-runner, but his anti-Trump stance will hurt him in the Republican primary. Ciattarelli, in 2016, called Trump a charlatan who is unfit to be President of the United States. With Trump possibly on the sidelines in federal politics in 2021, there’s always the Trump card in New Jersey. Trump could form an alliance with a New Jersey Republican who might be able to challenge Ciattarelli. That level of an endorsement could actually be a problem for Murphy, but it is highly unlikely that Trump would endorse Ciatarelli, who has remained completely quiet about the President since the RNC convention this summer.
Conservatives in New Jersey are also highly unlikely to back Ciattarelli for his past aggressions and negative comments about the President.
Other possible candidates in the election include New Jersey GOP Chairman Doug Steinhardt, former U.S. Senate candidate Hirsh Singh and Monmouth County Sheriff Shaun Golden.