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Democratic gubernatorial candidate Phil Murphy projected to win in New Jersey

The Democratic Party has secured its first major pickup of the Trump error tonight by recapturing the governorship of New Jersey from the Republicans, putting an end to eight years of mismanagement by Donald Trump backer Chris Christie.

Seconds after polls closed at 8 PM Eastern/5 PM Pacific, mass media declared Murphy the victor, projecting that he would become the state’s next governor. Christie’s lieutenant Kim Guadagno was the Republican nominee.

“Thank you, New Jersey! We’re ready to have your back in Trenton!,” tweeted a very happy Murphy, who posted a photo of himself on Twitter with his Lieutenant Governor-elect, Sheila Oliver.

Murphy’s win raises the number of states with a Democratic trifecta from six to seven. (It could go to eight in a few hours if Democrats retake the Washington State Senate by flipping the 45th LD, the 31st LD, or both from red to blue.)

“In Mr. Murphy,” wrote The New York Times’ Nick Corasaniti following the Associated Press’ call of the race, “voters selected Mr. Christie’s opposite — an energetic politician who yearns to be liked, embraces unions, loathes the president, supports gun control and has been open about his willingness to raise taxes on the wealthy to help fix the state’s floundering economy.”

The Democratic Governors Association released a statement hailing Murphy’s victory and noting Republicans had not conceded the race prior to Election Day.

“Congratulations to Governor-Elect Phil Murphy,” said Connecticut Governor Dan Malloy, who currently chairs the DGA.

“Phil ran an incredible campaign focused on his vision for an economy that works for all Garden State families, and I look forward to working with him.”

“The DGA was proud to invest nearly $4 million and play a key role in picking up this critical seat. New Jersey voters made clear that they are ready to turn the page from 8 years of failed policies and failed leadership in New Jersey.”

“This result points to larger problems for Republicans as they play defense in many open-seat races coming up next year. Today’s election was not just a victory for Governor-Elect Murphy. It was a victory for the nearly nine million New Jersey residents who will now have a Governor looking out for them: for their education, for their health care, and for their jobs.”

The DGA’s statement went on to note that:

Republicans raised and spent significant money in New Jersey despite Phil Murphy’s strong performance and polling throughout the campaign.  In November 2016, RGA Chairman Scott Walker laid a marker that Republicans expected to compete and win in New Jersey, saying “We think we can do well in both Virginia – where we have a chance for a pickup – and New Jersey in 2017.” This September, RGA Chairman Scott Walker and Governor Christie teamed up to host a fundraiser for Kim Guadagno that netted $2.1 million. On top of that, they’ve spent over $2 million on Guadagno’s behalf.

Murphy’s win was called as Democrats in Virginia were surging to victory; all three statewide candidates in the Old Dominion have now been declared the winners.