By John Celock
North Carolina’s gubernatorial race is nearing an end while next year’s race in New Jersey will not feature an incumbent.
North Carolina Democratic gubernatorial nominee Roy Cooper has launched his transition team; with vote counts showing him with an over 6,000-vote lead in his still undecided race against Gov. Pat McCrory (R). McCrory has not conceded this month’s election, citing uncounted ballots and potential election fraud in his race against Cooper, the four-term state attorney general.
The Raleigh News& Observer reported Tuesday that Civitas, a conservative group in North Carolina, is headed to court in an attempt to halt the state Board of Elections from finalizing the vote count in the state. Civitas plans to challenge the state’s decade old same day voter registration law, saying that the law does not allow time for election officials to verify addresses.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) confirmed Monday evening that he would not be leaving office before his term ends in January 2018 in order to take a position with President-elect Donald Trump. The news came after several articles reported that Trump had lost confidence in Christie, who had headed his transition team until days after the election. Christie was made a transition vice chair after Vice President-elect Mike Pence was given the chairmanship days after the election.
Christie would be the first New Jersey governor to serve two full terms in office since Republican Tom Kean left the Statehouse in 1990. The Garden State’s last two-term governor, Republican Christine Todd Whitman, left office a year early to take a spot in former President George W. Bush’s cabinet.
Christie’s announcement confirms that Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno (R) is unlikely to seek the governor’s office next year as an incumbent. Guadagno, who has served as acting governor during Christie’s absences on national political business the last three years, is considered a likely candidate for the Republican gubernatorial nomination, facing Assemblyman Jack Ciaterelli (R).
Guadagno, who serves as New Jersey’s secretary of state, has been taking steps of distancing herself from Christie. Last month she opposed a state constitutional amendment to dedicate the state’s gas tax to transportation projects, saying that the amendment would finalize the state’s 23-cent gas tax hike. The amendment passed on Election Day.
On the Democratic side, Assemblyman John Wisniewski has announced plans to challenge businessman Phil Murphy for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination. Murphy, a former ambassador to Germany, is considered the frontrunner after locking up support from Democratic county chairs from around the state. Murphy’s consolidation of support in September led Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop and state Senate President Steve Sweeney to drop their likely bids for the Democratic nomination.