Murphy and Baraka celebrate midterm Democratic wins

BY Michael Aron, Chief Political Correspondent |

Gov. Phil Murphy and Newark Mayor Ras Baraka whipped up the crowd at a black church Wednesday morning. They were celebrating a good Democratic night in New Jersey, particularly the U.S. Senate win by Bob Menendez.

“The city of Newark showed out. We showed out,” he said

Murphy saw the Menendez win as a rebuke of President Donald Trump.

“Newark stood up and said to Donald Trump, ‘not here, not now,'” Murphy said.

The scene was the Greater Abyssinian Baptist Church. In a backroom, Murphy held a news conference where he was asked how disappointed he is that Democrats didn’t win various high-profile races around the country.

“We struck a huge blow in New Jersey, so there’s no question about that, and we struck a blow nationally. We didn’t strike as deep a blow as I think we wanted to,” he said.

Murphy totaled up some of his plusses and minuses of the election. On the plus side, the Affordable Care Act now seems safe.

“We won the House of Representatives last night, in large part due to what happened in New Jersey. The attack on the Affordable Care Act has ended,” Murphy said.

Other plusses for Democrats — Congressman Frank Pallone is in line to become chairman of the powerful House Energy and Commerce Committee. And a New Jersey delegation that was split evenly between Democrats and Republican just two years ago will now become 10-2 or 11-1.

On Murphy’s minus side, the failure to win back the Senate from Republicans means more conservatives judges getting confirmed.

Murphy said Menendez was home enjoying some private family time after a very rough campaign.

“He wanted to be here. He has precious few hours to spend with his infant granddaughter who’s up from Florida, and he made the right decision. He’s there with her and his daughter this morning and early afternoon, and we are standing up on his behalf,” Murphy said.

Baraka had especially harsh words for Trump.

“We’re opposed to Donald Trump, we’re opposed to everything he believes, and pushes and represents,” Baraka said. “He’s not welcome here. We don’t want him to land at our airport.”

Murphy added a Democratic House means good things for tax fairness and climate change.

So from Murphy’s point of view, a good night for Democrats in New Jersey and some disappointment there wasn’t a bigger wave around the country.