Republican Jack Ciattarelli will concede New Jersey’s gubernatorial election to incumbent Democrat Gov. Phil Murphy on Friday, two sources familiar with his plans told Politico.
Ciattarelli’s legal counsel Mark Sheridan insisted Monday that the margin may be “enough to warrant a full recount,” according to NBC News. However, as Murphy’s margin increased to over 74,000 votes Thursday, a recount continued to become less likely.
“We will make the decision to pursue a recount based on all of the facts, which includes that this is the first time New Jersey is conducting an election under the new law, using new technology and vote counting procedures,” Sheridan said in the Monday statement.
The campaign also sought to distance itself from speculation of election fraud, stressing in the same statement that the GOP candidate was only seeking to ensure every legal vote is counted.
“I don’t want people falling victim to wild conspiracy theories or online rumors,” Sheridan said last week, per NBC. “While consideration is paid to any and all credible reports, please don’t believe everything you read or see online.”
Ciattarelli has scheduled a press conference at 1 p.m. Friday in Raritan, a borough in Somerset County, to “address the people of New Jersey about his campaign,” Politico said.
The move comes several days after Murphy’s campaign called on Ciattarelli to concede.
“The race is over. Assemblyman Ciattarelli is mathematically eliminated, and he must accept the results and concede the race,” Murphy campaign manager Mollie Binotto said in a statement Monday, per The Philadelphia Inquirer. “His continuing failure to do so is an assault on the integrity of our elections.”
The narrow margin of 2.9% went against public polling in the election, which indicated Murphy had a more pronounced lead.
Last week, Monmouth University Polling Institute director Patrick Murray published an Op-Ed in The Star-Ledger where he said he “blew it” regarding his data set in the race.