“The governor’s victory speech last night was premature,” Ciattarelli said in a video message on Twitter Thursday. “No one should be declaring victory or conceding the election until every legal vote is counted.”
Murphy’s declaration of victory comes as less than one percentage point separates the two candidates in a nail-biter race, a result many analysts did not expect in what is typically a reliably blue state.
But Ciattarelli argued that “after 2.4 million ballots” were counted, “there are still tens of thousands of vote-by-mail and provisional ballots yet to be counted.”
The process to count the remaining ballots could drag on for weeks, with ballots arriving by Nov. 8 still eligible to be counted. The GOP candidate could also call for a recount, which under New Jersey law he would have to request within 17 days if there is reason to believe that an error has been made in counting the votes of that election.
“I don’t want people falling victim to wild conspiracy theories or online rumors,” Ciattarelli said in the video. “While consideration is paid to any and all credible reports, please don’t believe everything you see or read online.”
The Ciattarelli campaign has not indicated whether it would seek a recount in the tight race, instead opting to see how the rest of the voting plays out before deciding on their next course of action.
Ciattarelli’s refusal to concede comes just one day after his campaign called the media “irresponsible” for calling the race, arguing the state is not sure how many ballots are left to count.
“Phil Murphy and Jack Ciattarelli are separated by a fraction of a percent out of 2.4 million ballots cast. It’s irresponsible of the media to make this call when the New Jersey Secretary of State doesn’t even know how many ballots are left to be counted,” the campaign said.