Two Democratic gubernatorial candidates in New Jersey disqualified from ballot; Gov. Murphy the lone remaining candidate

On April 13, Lisa McCormick and Roger Bacon were disqualified from the Democratic primary ballot for New Jersey governor. Gov. Phil Murphy (D) is the only remaining candidate on the ballot.

Administrative Law Judge Jeffrey Rabin disqualified McCormick, ruling that none of the 1,951 petition signatures she submitted were valid. The New Jersey Democratic Party had challenged her petition, alleging that it included signatures from voters who said they did not sign the petition along with the signatures of two dead individuals.

Administrative Law Judge JoAnn LaSala Candido disqualified Bacon, ruling that he did not submit the minimum of 1,000 signatures necessary to qualify. Of the signatures Bacon submitted, 281 of them came from registered Republicans.

On the Republican side of the race, four candidates are running for their party’s nomination: Jack Ciattarelli, Brian Levine, Philip Rizzo, and Hirsh Singh.

As of April 6, 2021, two of the three major race rating outlets rated the general election as Solid Democratic and the third rated it as Likely Democratic, but Republicans have had success in the state’s gubernatorial races in the recent past. Between 1992 and 2021, Republicans held the governorship for 16 years and Democrats held the governorship for 14 years. The last Democratic governor to win a re-election campaign was Brendan Byrne in 1977. Since then, two sitting Democratic governors, Jim Florio (1993) and Jon Corzine (2009), lost re-election bids to Republican challengers.

New Jersey and Virginia will hold gubernatorial elections in 2021. Democrats currently hold both positions, but Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) is prevented from running for re-election by term limits. Since both offices were last up for election in 2017, 10 governors’ offices have changed party hands. Eight of those changes were from Republicans to Democrats, one was from Democrat to Republican, and one was from independent to Republican.