Credit: (Edwin J. Torres/NJ Governor’s Office; CC BY-NC 2.0)
April 9, 2021: Gov. Phil Murphy receives his first dose of COVID-19 vaccine.

From a political standpoint, the coronavirus pandemic has not been all bad for New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, a first-term Democrat now looking to win a second term after his party’s essentially uncontested primary Tuesday.

Murphy has enjoyed strong public support for his response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which emerged here in March 2020, making it hard for Republican challengers to gain traction against the governor during the primary season.

How the pandemic politics evolve in the months to come remains to be seen and depends largely on the pandemic itself, which has infected more than 1 million New Jerseyans, including at least 26,000 who have died, although the pace of spread has slowed dramatically in recent months. On Nov. 2, New Jerseyans will vote for their next governor and select…

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