Former US president Barack Obama hits campaign trail for New Jersey governors race

Jill Biden, the first lady, also appeared alongside Governor Phil Murphy earlier this month as the Democrats gear up for tough mid-term elections

Former US president Barack Obama will make a campaign appearance on Saturday with New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy, who is facing a challenge from Republican Jack Ciattarelli.

Mr Obama also campaigned for Mr Murphy in 2017, during a time when voter fraud hysteria and fake news had many would-be voters disenfranchised.

“We are rejecting a politics of fear,” Mr Obama said at the time.

“Some of the politics we see now, we thought we put that to bed. This is the 21st century, not the 19th century.”

The Democratic incumbent is leading Mr Ciattarelli by 50 per cent to 41 per cent, a Stockton University poll found. But that does not have the Democrats resting on any laurels.

Jill Biden, the first lady, campaigned there on October 15, saying “this election will set a course for a year from now” during her first political trip of her husband’s presidency.

Speaking at an early voting rally at Middlesex College in Edison, New Jersey, Ms Biden clapped on stage to It’s My Life by New Jersey musician and Biden supporter Jon Bon Jovi.

“We can’t get complacent. We have to get to work,” Ms Biden said.

The loudest applause of the event came when Ms Biden joked: “Heck, today’s Friday. So go grab a beer and go vote.”

Mr Obama will also hit the campaign trail tomorrow for Terry McAuliffe in the Virginia gubernatorial election, where polls are showing almost a dead heat between Mr McAuliffe and Republican challenger Glenn Youngkin.

In Virginia especially, which President Joe Biden won by a comfortable 10 per cent last year, a defeat in the governor’s race could spell trouble for Democrats in the 2022 mid-terms, when control of Congress is at risk of flipping to Republicans.

Mr Biden's approval ratings have fallen to some of the lowest levels of his White House tenure amid congressional fights over infrastructure and voting rights.

Agencies contributed to this story

US Vice President Kamala Harris visited New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy with US Senator Cory Booker earlier this month. EPA
Updated: October 24, 2021, 5:38 AM