Nearly one week after the New Jersey governor race was called for incumbent Gov. Phil Murphy, D-N.J., Republican candidate Jack Ciattarelli has yet to concede the election.
Murphy declared victory after the Associated Press called the election in his favor after a surprisingly close race. However, echoing former President Trump, Ciattarelli said last Thursday, “No one should be declaring victory or conceding the election until every legal vote is counted.”
Trump-fueled conspiracy theories soon started to spread among the right-wing on social media. One from James O’Keefe’s Project Veritas, claims a poll worker provided a ballot to a noncitizen. Donald Trump Jr. shared the video on Twitter, saying “Nothing to see here folks, just a blatant crime being committed!”
— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) November 4, 2021
Ciattarelli has tried to distance himself from the wild conspiracy theories that are the new normal in the Trump-led GOP. “I don’t want people falling victim to wild conspiracy theories or online rumors,” said Ciattarelli in the same statement where he said all votes must be counted. “What’s most important is for everyone to be patient and let the process play out. Know this. My team is comprised of some of the best legal and political experts in the country,” continued Ciattarelli. “I promise you, whatever the outcome, the election result will be legal and fair.”
But despite Ciattarelli’s assurances, his team still used Trump-like tactics.
Stami Williams, Communications Director for Ciattarelli, said it was “irresponsible” that the media would call the election for Murphy in noticeable similarity to when Rudy Giuliani said “Networks don’t get to decide elections” after the 2020 election was called for Joe Biden.
With the candidates separated by a fraction of a percent out of 2.4 million ballots cast, it’s irresponsible of the media to make this call when the New Jersey Secretary of State doesn’t even know how many ballots are left to be counted. https://t.co/DnwIRASspC
— Stami Williams (@StamiLW) November 3, 2021
The New Jersey GOP also tweeted they have deployed 20 lawyers as a part of their “election integrity team” to New Jersey to ensure that Ciattarelli is elected governor.
“RNC deploys 20 lawyers to NJ as counting continues”
Every legal vote will be counted & our election integrity team (the largest such team ever assembled) will be scrutinizing the process to ensure that’s the case & that we get @Jack4NJ elected Governor https://t.co/EpQOZvhnxf
— New Jersey GOP (@NJGOP) November 3, 2021
As of Monday, an estimated 98% of the votes have been counted and Murphy was ahead by more than 60,000 votes.
Murphy’s campaign manager Mollie Binotto called for Ciattarelli to concede the race, saying in a statement “The race is over. Assemblyman Ciattarelli is mathematically eliminated, and he must accept the results and concede the race. His continuing failure to do so is an assault on the integrity of our elections.”