Election 2021: Candidates for governor

NJ Spotlight News | September 28, 2021 | NJ Decides 2021

These are the candidates for governor, and their running mates for lieutenant governor,  for the 2021 general election.

Gov. Phil Murphy

Philip Murphy

Party: Democrat

Occupation: Governor

Home: Middletown

Age: 64

Murphy was born in born in Boston, Massachusetts and raised in Newton and nearby Needham, Massachusetts. He graduated from Harvard University and The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. He is married with four children.

Prior to taking office in 2018, Murphy was the ambassador to Germany for four years during the Obama administration. He spent 23 years at Goldman Sachs, retiring as a senior director.

Murphy serves on the board of the NAACP. He was finance chair of the Democratic National Committee from 2006 to 2009. Last year, he chaired the Democratic Governors Association. In 2005, he was tapped to chair a task force on state public employee benefits. In 2014 and 2015, as he prepared to run for governor, Murphy launched nonprofit organizations to explore policy issues and improve his public profile.

Among his major accomplishments during his first term, Murphy increased the minimum wage – currently $12, rising to $15 in 2024. He expanded voting access. The governor set a goal of 100% clean energy usage by 2050 through a new energy master plan. Murphy made community college tuition free for those with limited means. He made significant investments to improve NJ Transit. He also led the state through the COVID-19 pandemic, including the vaccination of about three-quarters of those eligible.

Lieutenant governor: Sheila Y. Oliver

Elected with Murphy in 2017, also serves as commissioner of the Department of Community Affairs, was first African American woman to serve as speaker of the Assembly, age 69, lives in East Orange.

For more information:

Campaign website

Ballot statement


Jack CiattarelliJack Ciattarelli

Party: Republican Party

Occupation: Candidate for governor

Home: Hillsborough

Age: 59

Ciattarelli was born in Somerville and raised in Raritan. He holds a bachelor’s degree in accounting and master’s in finance from Seton Hall University. He is married with four children.

This is his second gubernatorial run. Ciattarelli served six years in the Assembly, representing the 16th District that includes Princeton, Somerville and Flemington, giving up his seat in 2017 in an unsuccessful bid for the Republican gubernatorial nomination. While in the Legislature, Ciattarelli served on the financial institutions and insurance and the regulated professions committees. He was prime sponsor of 11 laws, mostly dealing with financial matters, insurers and professions.

Prior to his legislative service, Ciattarelli was a Somerset County commissioner and a Raritan Borough councilman. He also has started two businesses and worked as a certified public accountant.

Ciattarelli’s platform include a proposal to lower property taxes and implement a variety of corporate and income tax cuts. He pledges to end the state’s so-called “sanctuary” policies for undocumented immigrants and end police reporting of use of force unless a firearm is discharged. Ciattarelli would prohibit abortions after 20 weeks and supports parental notification for minors seeking an abortion. He backs vaccine choice and opposes mask and vaccination mandates.

Lieutenant governor: Diane Allen

President of a media production company, former state senator for 7th District in Burlington County and former Assembly member, former broadcast journalist, age 73, lives in Edgewater Park.

For more information:

Campaign website

Ballot statement


Madelyn HoffmanMadelyn R. Hoffman

Party: Green

Occupation: Adjunct professor of political science and public speaking

Home: Flanders

Age: 64

Hoffman has served as the executive director of New Jersey Peace Action. She is a long-time environmental and social justice activist who previously run for governor and the U.S. Senate. Hoffman supports New Jersey’s adoption of a Green New Deal. She would implement such social justice reforms as reparations and ending youth incarceration. And Hoffman supports tuition-free public college for New Jersey students.

Lieutenant governor: Heather Warburton

For more information:

Campaign website

Ballot statement


Gregg Mele

Party: Libertarian

Occupation: Attorney

Home: Bridgewater

Age: 56

Mele ran for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives in 2018 and for mayor of Bridgewater in 2019. He wants to promote school choice and home schooling. Mele backs more competitive contracting and bidding process to improve transit and roadway infrastructure. He calls for releasing all prisoners currently being held on marijuana possession.

Lieutenant governor: Eveline Brownstein

For more information:

Campaign website

Ballot statement


Joanne Kuniansky

Party: Socialist Workers

Occupation: Deli worker

Home: West New York

Kuniansky has run for office in three states. She has advocated for workers’ rights, including a shorter work week with no cut in pay. She wants to end to police brutality, anti-Semitic assaults and attacks on abortion rights.

Lieutenant governor: Vivian M. Sahner

For more information:

Ballot statement


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