New Jersey residents elect Phil Murphy as governor

Photo courtesy of Phil Murphy, Flickr

Chris Christie’s time as New Jersey’s governor has come to an end. 

On Tuesday, voters went to the polls to decide who would be his replacement and Democrat Phil Murphy came out on top with 55.6 percent of votes.

Decidedly blue in presidential elections, New Jersey has spent the last eight years under the turbulent governorship of Christie, a Republican who ends his time in office with just a 15 percent approval rating, making him the least popular New Jersey governor ever. Despite being the first governor to serve a full second term since 1982, opinions of Christie plummeted after the Bridgegate scandal and the government shutdown over Fourth of July.

With her campaign stuck in the shadow of Christie, Republican candidate Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno struggled in the polls leading up to election day, consistently falling up to 12 points behind Murphy. According to, this lack of competitiveness is what led to the historically low voter turnout. The previous low of 40 percent turnout for the 2013 gubernatorial election was beaten by the estimated 36 percent of voters who went to the polls on Tuesday.

However, this worked in favor of former Wall Street businessman and political outsider Phil Murphy. Murphy also served as the ambassador to Germany during the recession. His campaign was run on the promise of making New Jersey more affordable, legalizing marijuana and building a sustainable economy.

His running mate and lieutenant governor-elect, Sheila Oliver, will become only the second lieutenant governor of New Jersey in modern times. Previously, she served as New Jersey’s first female African-American Assembly speaker.

While at the polls, voters also had two ballot measures to consider. The first was to designate $125 million in grants to public libraries and the second addressed revenue from environmental settlements and if it should be put toward environmental projects. Both measures passed.

Murphy will be sworn in as New Jersey’s 56th governor on Jan. 16.