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NEW JERSEY — Jack Ciattarelli, the Republican challenger who hoped to unseat Phil Murphy in the race for New Jersey governor, announced Friday he has conceded.

Ciattarelli addressed New Jerseyans Friday, saying he called Murphy to congratulate him on winning the re-election.

“I hate to lose,” Ciattarelli said. “But I am also someone who believe strongly in our republic and democratic processes. Enough votes have been counted. There does not appear to be a path to victory or the basis for a recount, nor do we know of any systemic or widespread fraud.  So no, I see no proof this election was stolen.”

Associated Press declared Murphy the winner on the evening of Nov. 3.

Murphy clinched a win in New Jersey’s nail-biter election, making him the first Democratic incumbent to be re-elected in the Garden State in decades.

The race between Murphy and Ciattarelli became unexpectedly close last week despite pre-election polls showing the incumbent governor with a comfortable lead over his Republican rival. 

Ciattarelli did not immediately concede, saying he wanted to make sure every vote was counted, even calling Murphy’s victory speech “premature.”

Earlier this week, Murphy’s campaign called on his Republican opponent to concede the election, arguing that he no longer has a path to victory. 

Ciattarelli is a former Assembly member who campaigned on a mix of traditional issues, like lowering the state’s high property taxes, as well as against COVID-19 mandates.

While The Associated Press and other news outlets called the race for Murphy, the election was one of several that served as a warning sign for Democrats as they head into the 2022 midterms. 

Republican Glenn Youngkin defeated Democrat Terry McAuliffe in the race for Virginia governor, delivering a stunning blow to Democrats in a state that has moved in their direction over the past decade. Republicans are also poised to take control of the Virginia House of Delegates.