New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy is in the middle of an election campaign against Republican candidate Jack Ciattarelli. If successful, Murphy will become the first Democratic governor to win re-election since 1977 in the Garden State. Recently, President Joe Biden and former Commander-in-Chief Barack Obama have joined Murphy to offer support. And while the governor is currently in the lead, those numbers may change following the publication of a Project Veritas video, which suggests the governor is keeping his vaccine mandate plans secret until after he wins the election.
The video, which was released on Monday, Oct. 25, shows Wendy Martinez, a Hispanic outreach campaign worker, as she talks about a vaccine mandate. When asked about the governor’s plans if he wins the election, she explained:
“He’s going to do it, but he couldn’t do it before the elections because [independent and undecided voters are] all into the s—t, my rights, my s—t. And they don’t care if they kill everybody.”
Martinez stressed that Murphy would implement vaccine mandates, “but right now it is about him winning.” Matthew Urquijo, a digital manager for Murphy’s campaign, was also caught on camera. After being asked what the governor’s plans were for COVID requirements, he said: “I think the problem is right now because it’s election season, he’s not going to have people say like, ‘We’re going to have a mandate now.’”
The GOP has been accusing Murphy of “following political science, as opposed to actual science,” and in a statement, Tom Szymanski, director of the New Jersey State Republican Committee, said Murphy needs to be clear about his intentions. He said the governor’s withholding of “life-changing information” from voters until after the election is as “deceitful as it gets.” Szymanski wrote:
“This extremely disturbing video appears to confirm what the Murphy campaign has been hinting at — and the NJGOP has been warning about — throughout the summer: that a second Murphy term will bring about the same type of vaccine passports seen in Bill de Blasio’s New York, burdening already suffering businesses and discriminating against minority communities in which immunization rates are lower.
“Phil Murphy must immediately state his intentions on this matter before voting ends next week and disclose whether or not data of thousands of New Jerseyans already entered into the Docket App has been harvested for the purpose of implementing a vaccine passport.”
A spokeswoman for the Ciattarelli campaign, Stami Williams, said in a statement about the video: “If true, this is the ultimate hypocrisy and an appalling lack of transparency.”
Murphy’s team denied plans to implement vaccine mandates. Campaign spokeswoman Rachel Bocchino claimed that intimidation was used to get false information. She told the Shore News Network:
“Following right-wing propagandist James O’Keefe’s blatant harassment and physical intimidation of two female Murphy for Governor, NJDSC campaign staffers yesterday, Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli is showing his desperation by shamelessly throwing his support behind the disinformation schemes and stunts of the ‘political spying’ organization, Project Veritas.”
According to Fox News, current polling results show Murphy has 50% support while Ciattarelli has 39%, giving the current governor an 11-point margin over his opponent. A Monmouth poll from September showed Murphy with a 13-point lead.
~ Read more from Kelli Ballard.