But moments later Ciattarelli declared he plans to run again for Garden State governor in four years, saying "that is exactly my plan. I’ll be running for governor." Ciattarelli’s announcement elicited cheers from his supporters attending his news conference in his hometown of Raritan, New Jersey.
Pointing to Murphy, who was reelected by a razor-thin margin, Ciattarelli said "I want the governor to be successful in addressing the issues that are most important to New Jerseyans. But I just have this feeling that there’s going to be a lot of fixing to do come four years from now."
And he told his supporters that "our work is not done. Let us fix New Jersey together."
Murphy became the first Democrat in New Jersey in more than four decades to win reelection as governor. But his three-point victory over Ciattarelli, in a very blue state where Democrats enjoy a registration advantage of roughly 1 million more voters than Republicans, was a huge surprise. Public opinion polls heading into the Nov. 3 election indicated Murphy holding an upper-single digit lead over Ciattarelli, a certified public accountant who started a medical publishing company and a former state lawmaker who was making his second bid for governor.
While Ciattarelli came up just short, his strong showing helped Republicans flip six state assembly seats and oust two Democratic state Senate incumbents, including the chamber’s president.
"We sent a powerful message to Trenton and although it was never my intention, we sent a very powerful message to the nation," Ciattarelli said. "Our message is simple: We’re tired of hyper partisanship, tired of divisiveness, tired of tone deafness, tired of dismissing citizens’ real concerns."
And he urged his supporters to "continue to fight the good fight. Let us harness our frustrations and harness our momentum on what it is that made this campaign so very successful Positive energy. Positive messaging. Positive commonsense solutions."
Before announcing that he intends to run again in 2025, Ciattarelli conceded to Murphy.
"To those who are disappointed that I’m conceding, to those whose faith in our election system is shaken, to those who are angry that I’m not asking for a recount today, let me say this: I’ve worked every day and night for 22 months to become New Jersey’s governor. If you think I’d be standing here today conceding if I thought I’d won this election, you couldn’t be more wrong. I hate to lose," Ciattarelli emphasized.
But he also stressed that "I’m also someone who believes strongly in our Republic and our Democratic processes. Enough votes have been counted. There does not appear to be a path for victory or the basis for a recount. Nor do we know of any systemic or widespread fraud. So no, I see no proof that this election was stolen."
While conceding, Ciattarelli argued that "the new law the governor rushed to enact led to this disjointed and excruciating slow vote counting process. Sadly in our current climate, that slow count and constantly changing online numbers gives rise to doubt in the system and unfounded conspiracy theories. The fact that we are 10 days past the election and votes are still being counted is a problem for every close election to come."
He highlighted that "voters do deserve better. I propose that the legislature, in partnership with the county clerks association, and the election board officials association, standardize election reporting. We desperately need uniformity."