Watch CBS News

Republican Jack Ciattarelli Zeroes In On Small Business Recovery, COVID-19 Restrictions In Race For New Jersey Governor

PARAMUS, N.J. (CBSNewYork) -- New Jersey voters are deciding who gets to be governor Tuesday.

Democratic incumbent Phil Murphy is trying to fight off a challenge from Republican Jack Ciattarelli.

As CBS2's Christina Fan reported, voters began filing into Paramus High School bright and early election morning -- the gubernatorial race at the top of their ballots, and their minds.

"I've always voted for the candidate who represents my values correctly and that is Phil Murphy," one voter said.

"I am voting for Jack and getting Murphy out of here," said another.

Both candidates packed their schedules with back-to-back events Tuesday, urging their supporters to go the polls. The election's outcome hinges on Tuesday's turnout after only 3.2% of registered voters participated in the state's first ever in-person early voting.

Ciattarelli started off the day in his hometown of Raritan, talking to small business owners. Vowing to help them recover has been at the core of his platform.

"If you like high property taxes and New Jersey being the worst place in the country to do business, if you like waiting five hours in line at motor vehicles, to get your unemployment check, or go to state government, vote for Phil Murphy. But if you want change, you do that by voting for Jack," Ciattarelli said.

Meanwhile in Cherry Hill, Murphy posed for pictures after speaking with a packed crowd at the Camden CCDC Labor Walk.

"The choice is a stark one. It's either pro-labor or undercutting labor, and we can't let that happen and go back to the bad old days," Murphy said.

Jersey voters say major issues this election cycle include education, the state's budget and, of course, COVID-19. Both candidates are vaccinated, but Murphy has been extremely pro-vaccine and pro-mask in public. Ciattarelli is not requiring proof of vaccination or mask wearing at his campaign party in Bridgewater on Tuesday night, CBS2's Jessica Layton reported.

"Our democracy is at stake. You should go out and vote, no matter who you vote for," said Paramus resident Jon Runny.

"I want to make life better for my family, my children, my grandchildren," added Paramus resident Barry Glick.

No Democrat has won re-election for governor in the state since 1977. Murphy is still leading in the polls, but the last one showed Ciattarelli narrowing the gap.

A new Rutgers Eagleton survey showed Murphy with 50% and Ciatarrelli with 42%.

Ciattarelli says Murphy is about to be one and done. Murphy admits he needs his supporters to show up and vote, or the results could be a coin toss.

The most recent poll also indicates this race has become more about national politics and parties than local issues.

For complete election coverage, CLICK HERE.

CBS2's Jessica Layton contributed to this report.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.