When asked about his closer-than-expected victory over Republican gubernatorial candidate Jack Ciattarelli, Murphy explained that New Jersey residents “feel like government is not connecting with them.”
“They’re sick of masks, being told what to do in terms of vaccines, probably not thrilled with what they sense is going on in Washington, they may have lost a job or a business that went bust—or a loved one, worse yet,” he told Politico this week.
Going further, Murphy said that more government decisions and mandates have to be decided on based on data, not just political coercion.
“Do two things: Do right by COVID. And I know all these folks, and they do that already, but keep making the decisions not based on the politics but based on the facts of the science and of the data,” he said.
In early November, Murphy defeated Ciattarelli, a former state lawmaker, by 3 percentage points in an election that wasn’t expected to be close. It came as Democrats suffered their first major loss during the Biden era when Republican Glenn Youngkin defeated former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe in the state’s gubernatorial race.
Other than Murphy, several Democratic governors have increasingly expressed similar concerns over their party’s messaging to voters.
“I think we have to recognize and acknowledge that families have had a tough time over the last two years, both health-wise—whether it is or isn’t from COVID, whether it’s mental health—and economically,” North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper, the chair of the Democratic Governor’s Association, recently told reporters.
And in perhaps the starkest comment from a Democrat governor to date, Colorado Gov. Jared Polis said last week that he believes the COVID-19 emergency is “over” and said it’s unvaccinated people’s “own darn fault” if they become infected with the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus.
“Everybody had more than enough opportunity to get vaccinated,” Polis told Colorado Public Radio. “Hopefully it’s been at your pharmacy, your grocery store, a bus near you, [or at] big events. At this point, if you haven’t been vaccinated, it’s really your own darn fault.”
Despite the about-face from some Democrat governors, Govs. Kathy Hochul of New York and Gavin Newsom of California recently re-imposed mask mandates across the state for businesses. Meanwhile, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, also a Democrat, announced that private businesses would have to mandate that their employees get vaccinated or obtain religious or medical exemptions.