Front-runner for Dems’ nod to run for N.J. governor demonstrates strength

 Phil Murphy arrives at the New Jersey Division of Elections with 43,000 petition signatures to get on the June Democratic primary ballot. (Phil Gregory/WHYY)

Phil Murphy arrives at the New Jersey Division of Elections with 43,000 petition signatures to get on the June Democratic primary ballot. (Phil Gregory/WHYY)

Former Goldman Sachs executive Phil Murphy has filed a record 43,000 petitions to get on the June primary ballot as a Democratic contender for governor of New Jersey.

Murphy is the clear front-runner for the Democratic nomination, said Fairleigh Dickinson political science professor Peter Woolley.

“He’s trying a bit of shock and awe, I think, trying to demonstrate to anybody who might come out and offer — in particular — financial support to his competitors, that it is futile,” Woolley said.

Monmouth University political analyst Patrick Murray said the boxes of petitions reinforce indications that Murphy has the Democratic nomination locked up.

“This is just chest thumping. It’s no more than that. It’s a show of strength against of your opponents to give that appearance of inevitability.”

Even though he’s won the endorsement of all 21 Democratic county committees in New Jersey — and has a big lead in the polls over other Democrats in the race —  Murphy is not overconfident.

“I take nothing for granted ever,” he said Monday. “I don’t take one vote, one signature, one policy idea for granted.”

Murphy said he will participate in the primary debates; because he is not receiving public matching funds, he’s not required to take part.

Challengers for the Democratic nomination include former U.S. Treasury official Jim Johnson, state Sen. Raymond Lesniak, D-Union, and state Assemblyman John Wisniewski, D-Middlesex.

Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno and state Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli, R-Somerset, are leading the GOP field as the the June 6 primary nears.

 

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