“The governor’s victory speech last night was premature,” Ciattarelli, a former state legislator, said in a video message posted on Twitter on Thursday night. “No one should be declaring victory or conceding the election until every legal vote is counted.”
As the Associated Press projected Murphy the winner late Wednesday, his lead was about 1 percentage point, with several parts of the state yet to be fully counted. As of Thursday night, Murhpy’s lead had expanded, to about 56,500 votes in a race where more than 2.4 million votes were cast.
In his video, Ciattarelli, whose campaign had called the media projections “irresponsible,” urged patience as counties continue to count mail-in and provisional ballots. He said he would decide whether to seek a recount once that process plays out in a week or so.
Ciattarelli asked supporters to report evidence of fraud to a New Jersey GOP hotline but urged caution regarding unsubstantiated claims.
“I don’t want people falling victim to wild conspiracy theories or online rumors,” Ciattarelli said in the video. “While consideration is paid to any and all credible reports, please don’t believe everything you see or read online.”
The Republican said, “what’s most important is for everyone to be patient and let the process the play out.”
“I promise you, whatever the outcome, the election result will be legal and fair,” he said. “You have my word.”
Several unsubstantiated claims of fraud have spread online in the wake of the election, including one fueled by a video purporting to show a poll worker providing a ballot to an undocumented immigrant who isn’t registered to vote.
Donald Trump Jr., the eldest son of the former president, was among those who shared the video, tweeting Thursday morning, “Nothing to see here folks, just a blatant crime being committed!”
While not conceding his election, Ciattarelli’s tone in his video is markedly different than that of former president Donald Trump, who continues to make unsubstantiated claims that last year’s election was stolen from him.
During his campaign, Ciattarelli acknowledged that Biden is the duly elected president.