Conspiracy Theories Swirl After Democrat Phil Murphy Reelected New Jersey Governor—But There’s No Evidence Of Widespread Fraud

The narrow victory of New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy (D) led to conspiracy theories about voter fraud. Phil Murphy (D), conspiracies about voter fraud started to circulate in many right-wing circles online, despite the fact that the election night was widely praised by political commentators as the best in recent years for the GOP. This is continuing a trend of false fraud claims made in part by Republicans after the completely legitimate loss of President Donald Trump's 2020 presidential election.

New Jersey Governor. Phil Murphy (D), speaks with supporters at an election victory party held in Asbury Park... [+] Park, New Jersey on Wednesday morning. Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/ASSOCIATED PRESS

The Key Facts

One of the most popular conspiracies centers on a secretly recorded, heavily edited video by Project Veritasan, a far-right organization known for publishing misleading videos. This clip, which is less than one-minute long, claims to show an Essex County poll worker illegally giving a ballot to a citizen who isn't registered to vote. However, the worker points out that it may not count. Some right-wing figures took the video and used it as evidence of fraud or other election crimes in the state. This included Donald Trump Jr. who tweeted: There is nothing to see here, but a blatant crime was committed! Others speculated that Jack Ciattarelli, the Republican challenger to Phil Murphy, lost his lead in some parts of the state just hours after closing the polls. This was a conspiracy theory that many believed was based on magic votes for Democrats. Many of the uncounted votes that were still outstanding after the polls closed came from mail-in ballots, which helped Murphy.

What to Watch

Ciattarelli is not yet a concessionaire of the race but he has not claimed fraud.

Surprising Fact

Ciattarelli distanced himself greatly from Trump, but has admitted that President Joe Biden won 2020. Trump did not endorse Ciattarelli for the gubernatorial election.

Important Background

It was not expected that the New Jersey governors race would be close. Murphy had high approval ratings and was polling well prior to the election. Although Murphy had a 7.8 percentage point lead in the last RealClearPolitics polling before Election Day, the actual result was closer. Although Murphy was declared the winner, 92% of votes had been reported by Thursday morning. His lead over Ciattarelli, however, was only 1.6 percentage points. This is far from the overwhelming victory Democrats wanted. The news for Democrats was worse further south. Trump-endorsed Republican Glenn Youngkin defeated Democrat Terry McAuliffe in the Virginia governorship election. The state's lieutenant governor, attorney general and secretary of state were also won by Republicans. The GOP had not won a state race in Virginia since 2009, prior to Tuesday's results.


Trump stated Monday that Youngkin could only win if he floods the polls with Americans First supporters. He claimed his supporters must be more than the margin of fraud.

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Murphy Wins Reelection In Close New Jersey Governor Race (Forbes)