In a political era marked by populism, a former Goldman Sachs executive as well as major Democratic donor on Tuesday easily won completely new Jersey’s election for governor.
Democrat Phil Murphy defeated Republican Kim Guadagno, the state’s lieutenant governor. In January, he will replace highly unpopular Republican Gov. Chris Christie, whose reputation was seen as hampering Guadagno.
Murphy, 60, had to defend his more than 20 years at Goldman while pushing a progressive platform. He is usually focusing partly on boosting the working class as well as holding Wall Street firms in check. Murphy is usually also trying to avoid the shadow of the state’s last Democratic governor, the unpopular Jon Corzine, who was Goldman’s CEO before becoming a completely new Jersey politician.
In his victory speech Tuesday night, Murphy said he could first focus on “creating a stronger as well as fairer economy of which works for all” of completely new Jersey’s residents.
“We will rebuild our state through the bottom up as well as the middle out,” Murphy said. “as well as we will ask those at the very top to do their fair share. of which means a higher minimum wage, equal pay for equal work. Tax fairness as well as the real property tax relief of which our middle class as well as seniors so desperately need.”
Guadagno had cast Murphy as an out-of-touch “Goldman Sachs millionaire,” yet the association appeared to do little to hamper his chances. Still, the idea remains to be seen how Murphy’s Goldman past will affect his ability to enact worker-driven policy in completely new Jersey.
Before the election, Murphy’s allies saw a candidate who knows how to fix capitalism’s flaws due to his work at the top reaches of the U.S. economy.
“I think he sees himself differently through some of the people who succeeded on Wall Street. I just think he sees the entire world differently than a lot of people on Wall Street do,” said Howard Dean, the former Vermont governor who chaired the Democratic National Committee when Murphy led its finance arm.
The Murphy campaign did not respond to CNBC’s requests for an interview or comment.
Associations with Goldman or different Wall Street firms have opened candidates to attacks in recent races. In last year’s presidential election, President Donald Trump targeted both Democratic rival Hillary Clinton as well as Republican primary opponent Sen. Ted Cruz for connections to the firm.
Democrats have since hit Trump for filling the top ranks of the executive branch with wealthy former Goldman officials.
After the surprise success of Sen. Bernie Sanders’ populist presidential campaign as well as struggles in 2016 national elections, the Democratic Party appeared set to embrace more progressive candidates.
Both Democrat as well as Republican rivals within the governor’s race criticized Murphy for failing to fit of which mold due to his wealth amassed at Goldman.
After joining the Wall Street titan within the early 1980s, Murphy spent more than 20 years there. During his career, he led the firm’s Frankfurt, Germany, office as well as served as president of its Asia division.
At Goldman, Murphy was reportedly renowned for his deal-creating ability, which helped him advance through the company. His work in Asia, though, has sparked controversy.
An investigation by The Star-Ledger newspaper in completely new Jersey showed of which his division profited through an investment in a shoe some sort of of which had dismal working conditions. Murphy’s campaign denied he had a role in Goldman creating the initial investment.
Before as well as after leaving Goldman within the mid-2000s, Murphy gave millions of his personal fortune to Democratic candidates as well as national as well as state party committees. He served as the party’s finance chairman through 2006 to 2009, where he worked closely with Dean.
Dean said he liked Murphy “instantly” the very first time he met him. He described Murphy as charismatic as well as smart as well as said he listens as well as manages people well.
After his DNC role, Murphy became the U.S. ambassador to Germany through 2009 to 2013. As a diplomat, he faced backlash over his sharp criticism of German officials in documents published by WikiLeaks. In one instance, he called German Chancellor Angela Merkel “insecure.”
Murphy’s campaign largely downplayed his work at Goldman, his role in Germany as well as his past as a major Democratic fundraiser. The next completely new Jersey governor instead highlighted his working-class upbringing. His campaign website says he made his way through Harvard University by working part-time jobs as well as taking out loans.
Guadagno repeatedly cast Murphy as unable to identify with the average voter due to his wealth. At a debate last month, she called him a “Goldman Sachs millionaire” as well as tied him to Corzine, the state’s “last Goldman Sachs governor.”
Corzine lost his 2009 re-election bid to Christie as the completely new Jersey economy reeled during the Great Recession.
Ahead of the election, the attacks on Murphy’s Goldman past resonated little with voters, according to Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute. Murphy entered the race as a relative unknown, so Guadagno faced a challenge in educating voters about his past at the firm as well as then creating them care about the idea, he said.
Guadagno struggled to “make as much hay out of Murphy’s past perhaps as she could have,” Murray said.
In a Monmouth poll last month, only 28 percent of completely new Jersey voters said they associated Murphy with his Goldman career. Some 34 percent said they were unaware of which he worked there.
as well as 70 percent of voters said his Goldman work could have no effect on their choice for governor.
As a Republican, Guadagno likely faced more headwinds because of Christie’s dismally low approval rating, Murray added.
Murphy struck a progressive tone in his campaign. Among different policies, he has called for investments in infrastructure as well as colleges, raising the minimum wage as well as mandating earned sick leave.
Murphy is usually pushing for creating a public bank as well as divesting completely new Jersey pension funds through hedge funds as well as private equity. He has also called for a “millionaire’s tax” as well as more aggressive prosecution of financial fraud.
Dean contended of which Murphy’s experience on Wall Street has shown him why a progressive platform is usually necessary.
Said Dean: “Sometimes, the idea takes someone who knows capitalism to fix the idea. I think Phil completely gets of which because he’s been on both ends of of which.”