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N.J. Governor's Race Between Incumbent Phil Murphy And Republican Jack Ciattarelli Too Close To Call

TRENTON, N.J. (CBSNewYork) -- The race for New Jersey governor remains in a dead heat Wednesday morning.

Democratic incumbent Phil Murphy has been locked in a tight race with Republican challenger Jack Ciattarelli.

As of 3:07 a.m. Wednesday, with 97% of precincts reporting, Ciattarelli was ahead of Murphy by less than 1% -- 49.65% to 49.6%, according to tabulation by The Associated Press.

Both candidates addressed their supporters late Tuesday night, and neither conceded. Both said they are still hopeful that once all the votes are counted, they will win.

WATCH: Jack Ciattarelli Addresses Supporters At Campaign HQ --

As Murphy's Asbury Park headquarters started to dwindle around midnight, Ciattarelli's camp in Bridgewater only grew more energetic. A boisterous crowd of supporters cheered on the Republican nominee, as results showed him catching up, pulling even, then slightly surpassing Murphy in votes.

"This is what I love about this state. If you study its history, every single time it's gone too far off track, the people of this state have pushed, pulled, and prodded it right back to where it needs to be," Ciattarelli said.

Murphy was leading in the polls, and there are one million more registered Democrats than Republicans in the state. But in recent weeks, Ciattarelli started closing in on the incumbent's lead.

WATCH: Governor Phil Murphy Addresses Supporters At Campaign HQ --

Hours after Election Day closed, Murphy remained optimistic.

"We're leading with compassion and empathy, not anger and despair. We're following science and facts, not the political winds. We may not always agree, but when we disagree, we sit down and treat each other with respect and understanding, always seeking common ground. Our shared values are far more important than any one person. What we can already take from tonight is knowing that many of our friends and neighbors, like us, do not want to go backwards," Murphy said.

Both candidates overnight asked their supporters to be patient.

READ MORE: New Jersey Election Results 2021

"We're going to wait for every vote to be counted, and that's how our democracy works," said Murphy.

"I wanted to come out here tonight because I'd prepared one hell of a victory speech. I wanted to come out here tonight and tell you that we had won, but I'm here to tell you that we're winning. We're winning," Ciattarelli said.

WATCH: Political expert Professor Saladin Ambar discusses N.J. governor's race

There are still provisional and vote-by-mail ballots that have yet to be counted.

New Jersey does not have an automatic recount law, but candidates are allowed to request one, as long as they file suit within 17 days of Election Day.

CBS2's Jessica Layton and Meg Baker contributed to this report.

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