Murphy draws primary challenge in New Jersey governor's race; four Republicans vying for nomination

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Four candidates are poised to vie for the Republican gubernatorial nomination during the June 8 primary.

Former Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli of Hillsborough, former Franklin Mayor Brian D. Levine, the Rev. Philip Rizzo of New Vernon and Hirsh Singh of Linwood all filed nominating petitions on Monday, the deadline to submit paperwork.

The winner of the primary is likely to face incumbent Gov. Phil Murphy, who is facing a primary challenge.

Ciattarelli served in the state Assembly from 2011 until 2018 and was the assistant minority whip from 2014 until 2018. He previously ran for governor in 2017 but lost in the Republican primary.

Levine unsuccessfully ran for the New Jersey State Senate District 17 seat in 2013 and hoped to challenge then-Gov. Jon Corzine in 2009 but didn’t garner enough signatures to make the ballot.

Singh previously ran for the 2nd Congressional District seat in 2018 and governor in 2017, according to Ballotpedia.

Another previously expected candidate, Doug Steinhardt, stepped down as state chairman of the Republican Party to run but opted not to seek the nomination.

Meanwhile, on the Democratic side, Roger Bacon of Phillipsburg wants to unseat Murphy. According to filing information, Bacon has opted to use “Make New Jersey Great Again” as his campaign slogan.

In 2017, Murphy emerged from a field of six Democrats and defeated Republican candidate Kim Guadagno, winning 56% of the vote.

According to Ballotpedia, four other candidates are also seeking the governor’s office. Gregg Mele is running as a Libertarian, Joanne Kuniansky is running on behalf of the Socialist Workers Party, and independents Justin Maldonado and David Winkler are also vying for the post.

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