November 08, 2017

Phil Murphy wins race to succeed Chris Christie as New Jersey governor

RICHMOND, Va. — Democrat Phil Murphy was elected New Jersey's next governor on Tuesday.

Murphy, the front-runner heading into Election Day, overcame Republican Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno's bid to succeed Gov. Chris Christie, who is set to leave office as one of the most unpopular governors in the country.

"The days of division are over. We will move forward," Murphy said in his victory speech.

In an unofficial tally, The New York Times had Murphy ahead of Guadagno by 11 percentage points shortly before 9 p.m., with 17 percent of precincts reporting.

Guadagno, who served as Christie's side for the past eight years, contended with Trump's and Christie's unpopularity, factors that helped pave Murphy's path to victory. 

"The people are gonna rise up. They're not gonna take what he says and this is not fake news," said Leanna Barnes, a 76-year-old from East Orange, New Jersey, who voted for Murphy and added she saw his victory as a message to the president.

Democrats were eager to show they could harness anti-Trump energy into success at the polls, while Republicans hoped to prove they could put together winning blueprint in blue-leaning states.

"If I could get rid of Trump I would be even happier. I've never seen our state so miserable and I've never seen our country so miserable," said John Holpp, 88, who said he voted for Murphy because he's "hoping to get rid of" Christie, who is term-limited.