Former President Obama stumps for Gov. Murphy as early voting begins in New Jersey
Early voting began Saturday for the election of New Jersey governor.
Both Republican nominee Jack Ciattarelli and Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy held events to generate support.
Murphy campaigned in Weequahaic Park alongside a heavy hitter in his party, former President Barack Obama.
Gov. Murphy served as the Obama administration’s ambassador to Germany from 2009 to 2013 before Murphy departed to prepare his run for governor of New Jersey.
The first Black president rallied to bring out the vote from New Jersey’s Black community which could be vital to make the governor the first Democrat to win a second term since Brendan Byrne in 1977.
Obama said that without strong Democratic turnout, Murphy could lose to Ciattarelli the way Hillary Clinton suffered a stunning defeat to Donald Trump in 2016.
"That's what happens when you're not paying attention. That's what happens when you become complacent," Obama told the crowd.
Newark police said 2,000 people attended Saturday's event.
Meanwhile, Ciattarelli campaigned up and down the Jersey Shore and Middlesex County.
"We can win this race. Do not let anybody stay home because they think we can't win or it's rigged," Ciattarelli said.
Polls show Murphy's lead in the high single digits but narrowly in the last few days, but that's come down from a 26-point lead in the summer.
"The only poll that matters is the one we take on Nov. 2, I couldn't be happier with where the campaign is, the energy up and down the state. We're right where we need to be," Ciattarelli said.
Saturday was the first year of early, in-person voting in New Jersey, and voting will continue until Halloween.
Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 2.
Every town must have at latest one polling place for early voting, though not every regular Election Day polling place will be open.
Former President Obama campaigned for Democrats in New Jersey and Virginia, as polls indicate a tighter than expected race in both states.
President Joe Biden is also set to visit the Garden State on Monday, but not for a campaign trip. Instead, it will be an official visit about his infrastructure plan.