Governor Murphy for President? Signs point to a potential future run

NEW JERSEY — Governor Phil Murphy cannot run in New Jersey’s upcoming gubernatorial election. But a $2 million publicity blitz touting his program has sparked outside speculation that Murphy could run for president.

Stronger Fairer Forward — a nonprofit advocacy group that doesn’t have to release its donors — has launched a Murphy-centric ad campaign that will run through the end of July. The campaign includes promotions on television, digital platforms and billboards.

In published advertisements, Murphy says the “American Dream” worked for him. The governor grew up in a family that lived “paycheck to paycheck” before a career as a Wall Street executive.

“I worked hard and the American Dream worked for me,” Murphy said in an announcement. “But today that dream seems distant, so we got to work. … We’re rebuilding the American Dream in New Jersey.”

Murphy’s allies founded Stronger Fairer Forward earlier this year. First lady Tammy Murphy is the chair, while Daniel Bryan — a former spokesperson and senior adviser to the governor — is executive director.

The governor denied he would run for president in 2024.

“I’m not running,” he told NJ Advance Media during his inauguration in January. “I’m not running. Jesus, Lord, help me.”

But Murphy’s allies launched the nonprofit political organization in February, along with a super PAC that says it will back candidates who support ‘efforts to protect and strengthen our democracy against national onslaught. ongoing against election officials and state election laws”. These moves, combined with the publicity campaign, often signal interest in running for higher positions.

President Joe Biden has made it clear that he plans to run for office. But his age (79) and low approval rating have Democrats privately worried, according to Policyy. Murphy is among several Democratic governors taking action that would position themselves for a presidential bid in 2024 or 2028.

“For governors, especially those in place in 2022, you’re building an operation for now, but you can also use it again in 2024 or 2028,” said Corey Platt, former political director of the Democratic Governors Association. , at Politico. “And for those who can win in 2022, they have a very good story to tell that separates them from the Democratic national mark”

Murphy’s re-election results and approval ratings may not inspire much confidence. Incumbent beat Republican nominee Jack Ciattarelli by 3.2 percentage points. Murphy held a 55% approval rating in a Monmouth University poll released in April. But that marked a steep drop from the 70% approval rating he held in May 2020, around the start of the pandemic. And in the April poll, only 33% of respondents thought Murphy was presidential material.

Compare that to the presidential aspirations of former Governor Chris Christie. The former governor won a second term in 2013 with 60.3% of the vote against 38.2% for Democratic candidate Barbara Buono.

During Christie’s second term, he squandered his previous popularity to a 15% approval rating in June 2017, according to a Quinnipiac University poll that marked the lowest approval rating for all. the governors of state history. Christie spent a lot of time in Iowa in 2014, laying the groundwork for a presidential election. But he dropped out of the race in February 2016, endorsing future President Donald Trump.

One thing is certain: Murphy cannot run for governor in 2025. New Jersey governors can serve an unlimited number of terms, but cannot serve more than two consecutive terms.

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