Former New Jersey Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli defeated Philip Rizzo, Hirsh Singh, and Brian Levine for the Republican nomination in New Jersey’s gubernatorial election. Ciattarelli received 49.5% of the vote, followed by Rizzo with 25.8%, Singh with 21.5%, and Levine with 3.3%.
Ciattarelli will face Gov. Phil Murphy (D) in the general election on November 2, along with Gregg Mele (L), Joanna Kuniansky (Socialist Workers), Justin Maldonado (I), and David Winkler (I).
The general election will determine New Jersey’s trifecta status for the next four years. A Murphy victory would maintain Democratic trifecta control, while a Ciattarelli victory would create a divided government. Election forecasters expect the Democratic party to maintain control of the state legislature.
As of June 1, 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.
Heading into the 2021 election, the last Democratic governor to win re-election was Brendan Byrne in 1977. Since then, two sitting Democratic governors, Jim Florio (1993) and Jon Corzine (2009), lost re-election to Republican challengers.