The campaign of Republican gubernatorial candidate Jack Ciattarelli says they are still assessing whether to proceed with requesting a recount of last week’s election.
According to the campaign, incumbent Gov. Phil Murphy, a Democrat, leads Ciattarelli by about 66,405 votes – a margin of about 2.6%. However, they claim another 70,000 provisional ballots and an unknown number of vote-by-mail and emergency ballots remain outstanding.
The campaign acknowledges the additional ballots may not tip the tally in Ciattarelli’s favor, but they expect to have additional clarity within the next 48 hours.
“Waiting an additional day or two for all votes to be counted should not be controversial,” Ciattarelli legal counsel Mark Sheridan said in a statement. “Let me be clear, no one on this team is alleging fraud or malfeasance, as we have not seen any credible evidence of that. However, the new law Governor Murphy and state Democrats rushed to enact led to this disjointed and excruciatingly slow vote counting process.
“We still have vote-by-mail ballots outstanding and approximately 70,000 provisional ballots to be counted,” Sheridan added. “At this time, we do not expect the provisional vote count to end with Jack Ciattarelli in the lead. However, that count may reduce the margin for Governor Murphy enough to warrant a full recount. 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.”
A statewide recount is likely to cost at least $1 million, and the Ciattarelli campaign could seek permission from the state to raise additional money to cover the cost. The campaign has 17 days to ask for a recount, and campaign officials indicated they would want the margin to be closer to 1% before deciding how to proceed.
However, the Murphy campaign says the winner of the race is clear.
“The race is over. Assemblyman Ciattarelli is mathematically eliminated, and he must accept the results and concede the race,” The Philadelphia Inquirer quoted Murphy campaign manager Mollie Binotto as saying in a statement. “His continuing failure to do so is an assault on the integrity of our elections.”
This article was originally posted on Ciattarelli campaign still weighing whether to ask for a recount