Gov. Phil Murphy is running for re-election amid a political landscape dramatically reshaped by the COVID-19 pandemic, social unrest over racial inequality, and polarizing ideologies between Republicans and Democrats.
At least four Republicans have declared their candidacy to oust Murphy and have filed paperwork with the state Division of Elections. They will face-off for the Republican nomination in a primary election set for June 8.
The winner will go head-to-head with Murphy in the Nov. 2 general election.
Murphy recently announced primary day will be conducted mostly in-person as more residents get vaccinated against COVID-19 and health metrics continue to show progress in slowing the spread of the virus. All of the state’s regularly operated polling places are expected to be open for any voter who wishes to cast their ballot on a voting machine.
As primary day nears, learn more about the candidates for governor below.
Brian D. Levine, Republican
Current job title: CPA and finance expert; former mayor of Franklin Township
Key issues: Levine’s campaign website highlights his experience in finance. His platform includes small business incentives, affordable health insurance, tax stabilization, and strong leadership through the pandemic.
Jack Ciattarelli, Republican
Current job title: Entrepreneur; former assemblyman
Key issues: Ciattarelli said in a letter on his campaign website that he’s determined to make New Jersey an affordable place to live and retire. His platform includes plans for lowering property taxes and growing the economy, ending New Jersey’s status as a “sanctuary state” for undocumented immigrants, and affordable and accessible health care insurance.
Phil Murphy, Democrat
Current job title: Incumbent governor of New Jersey
Key issues: According to his campaign website, Murphy is focused on getting New Jersey residents through the COVID-19 pandemic and moving forward, “leaving no one out and no one behind,” to make the state “stronger and fairer” for everyone.
Hirsh V. Singh, Republican
Current job title: Engineer and business owner
Key issues: Singh sued Murphy in 2020 over the governor’s executive order allowing a mostly vote-by-mail general election due to the pandemic. The case sought a recount for the U.S. Senate seat won by Democrat incumbent Cory Booker, however, the U.S. Supreme Court denied to hear Singh’s request. According to his campaign website, Singh’s platform focuses on growing the state’s economy, prioritizing transportation and infrastructure projects, decentralizing education regulations, and a zero-tolerance outlook on undocumented immigration.
Philip Rizzo, Republican
Current job title: Entrepreneur and pastor
Key issues: Rizzo’s campaign website spotlights several important issues.
It includes safely navigating the state through reopening amid the COVID pandemic, “bold” education reform with an emphasis on funding allocation and expanding charter school options, and cuts to state spending while lowering taxes.