Murphy holds on in New Jersey governor’s race

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy has won reelection, defeating Republican Jack Ciattarelli in a closer-than-expected race in which the Democrat actually trailed during most of the early vote count.

Murphy led Ciattarelli, 50 percent to 49 percent, when The Associated Press called the race on Wednesday, nearly 24 hours after polls closed.

The New Jersey contest eluded national coverage for most of the year, as both parties focused intensely on the close race for governor in Virginia. But Murphy’s small margin of victory ultimately points to the same challenging political environment for Democrats, a year after winning the presidential election.

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