Democrat Phil Murphy wins New Jersey governor’s race

Photo via Phil Murphy For Governor/Flickr (CC-BY)

He beat the Republican challenger, Kim Guadagno.

Phil Murphy will be the next governor of New Jersey.

NBC News called the election at 8:14pm ET. As of that time, Murphy was leading Republican challenger Kim Guadagno 54 percent to 42 percent.

Murphy, 60, takes over for the deeply unpopular Gov. Chris Christie.

The Democrat and former ambassador to Germany under former President Barack Obama’s administration was heavily favored to win the election over Guadagno, who served as Christie’s lieutenant governor. Before the election, Real Clear Politics had Murphy leading Guadagno by 14.4 points on average.

After two terms of Christie, who lost popularity in the state following his infamous Bridgegate scandal, New Jersey voters can expect a more liberal head of the state.

Murphy has promised to create a “public bank” that would lend out low-interest loans to residents and has promised to sign a bill that would legalize and tax marijuana in the state within the first 100 days he’s in office, allowing for New Jersey to join a growing number of states that have done so.

Murphy has never held elected office and takes over for Christie, whose approval rating hit 15 percent in June.

While turnout was expected to be low, changing demographics in New Jersey may have aided Murphy in such a commanding win. Benjamin Dworkin, director of the Rebovich Institute for New Jersey Politics at Rider University told Fox News there were 800,000 more registered Democrats in New Jersey than Republicans, up from only 200,000 a decade ago.

New Jersey was one of two states with gubernatorial elections on Tuesday. In Virginia Democrat Ralph Northam is facing off against Republican Ed Gillespie in what is expected to be a much closer race.

Andrew Wyrich

Andrew Wyrich

Andrew Wyrich is a politics staff writer for the Daily Dot, covering the intersection of politics and the internet. Andrew has written for USA Today, NorthJersey.com, and other newspapers and websites. His work has been recognized by the Society of the Silurians, Investigative Reporters & Editors (IRE), and the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ).