Gov. Murphy positioned as 'canary in a coal mine' for Democrat policies: 'We're doing what they're discussing'

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy has claimed that his state shows the effect of Democrat policies in action – the same policies currently debated in Congress for President Biden’s mammoth infrastructure bill. 

Murphy faces the possibility of succeeding as the first Democratic governor of New Jersey to win re-election since the 1980s: Polling has the governor nine points ahead of his Republican opponent, Jack Ciattarelli, who previously served as a member of the state’s General Assembly and as assistant minority whip. 


At the same time, Murphy faces a positive approval rate that is 10 points higher than that of Biden, despite the two politicians sharing similar political stances. Murphy attributes the difference to the fact he’s walking the walk while Congress is just talking the talk. 

"Perhaps it is because we are we actually doing in NJ what is being discussed and debated in Congress in Washington," Murphy argued on "The Sunday Show," referring to his state. 

The policies that Murphy believes have had the most effect in his state have been "human infrastructure," such as expanded pre-k education and public education, more available affordable housing and "big climate stuff." 

Two headshots of candidates for governor; left photo shows Phil Murphy wearing a gray sport coat and light blue shirt and pocket square; right photo shows Jack Cittarelli wearing a dark suit jacket, white shirt, and gold tie

Democrat Phil Murphy, left, and Republican Jack Ciattarelli are running for governor of New Jersey. Murphy is the incumbent. (Official Campaign Photos)

"In some respects, we’re the canary in the coal mine, as they say," Murphy quipped. "We turned this state around." 

Murphy has pushed several progressive policy proposals in his time as governor, including the legalization of recreational marijuana, a $15 per hour minimum wage and guaranteed paid sick leave for employees.

Now running against Republican candidate Jack Ciattarelli in Tuesday's election, Murphy's campaign has focused on his response to COVID-19 and creating more jobs for the state. He has also called for criminal justice reform, arguing that minorities are at a systemic disadvantage under the current criminal justice system.

Murphy has also faced criticism for failing to address the state's nation-high property taxes, an issue he famously dismissed in 2019, reasoning if "you’re a one-issue voter and tax rate is your issue, we’re probably not your state." 

But those comments came at a time of a mass exodus of residents from the state, with one analysis showing New Jersey had the highest rate of outbound migration in 2019. 




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