TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop announced Tuesday he’s running to be New Jersey’s next governor, aiming to succeed term-limited Democrat Phil Murphy.
Fulop, the third-term Democratic mayor of the state’s second-biggest city, announced his bid in a video posted online. A former Marine who served in Iraq after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, Fulop launched his bid more than two years ahead of the 2025 election.
Fulop is the first of what is expected to be many Democrats to vie to succeed Murphy, who won reelection in 2021 and is barred from seeking a third straight term.
His announcement video features former Marine comrades saying Fulop pushed for Kuwaitis working alongside U.S. troops to be equipped with gas masks, just as Americans had been.
“I believe leadership is about standing up for what you believe in even when it’s not popular, and then fighting successfully to get it done.,” he says in the video.
New Jersey has about a million more registered Democrats than Republicans. Still, voters have elected several Republican governors in recent decades, including Christine Todd Whitman and Chris Christie, who each served two terms. Murphy was the first Democratic governor to win reelection in more than four decades.
On the Republican side, 2021 GOP nominee Jack Ciattarelli has said he plans to seek his party’s nomination again in 2025.
New Jersey and Virginia are the only two states that elect their governors a year after presidential elections.