Obama and Murphy Rally in Newark Ahead of Gubernatorial Election

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Published October 24, 2021
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The Montclarion
Former President Barack Obama and Gov. Phil Murphy wave to the crowd at the conclusion of the rally. Michael Callejas | The Montclarion

Gov. Phil Murphy held a political rally at Weequahic Park in Newark, New Jersey on Saturday, Oct. 23, with special guest former President of the United States Barack Obama.

A big crowd watches as former President Barack Obama speaks. Michael Callejas | The Montclarion

A big crowd watches as Obama speaks.
Michael Callejas | The Montclarion

For the first time in the state’s history, New Jersey is offering early voting for the gubernatorial election, starting Oct. 23 and running through election day on Tuesday, Nov. 2.

Jamila Wilkins, a Newark resident, smiling just as the rally is about to begin. John LaRosa | The Montclarion

Jamila Wilkins, a Newark resident, smiles just as the rally is about to begin.
John LaRosa | The Montclarion

The rally attempted to garner support from voters who are undecided in the election. As of now, opponent Republican candidate Jack Ciattarelli is trailing behind Murphy by 6% in a poll conducted by Emerson College and PIX11 News. The poll also showed that 7% of voters are undecided.

Theodore Bryant, a Newark resident, holding a "STRONGER FAIRER FOWARD" sign during the rally. John LaRosa | The Montclarion

Theodore Bryant, a Newark resident, holds a “Stronger, Fairer, Forward” sign during the rally.
John LaRosa | The Montclarion

During the rally, Ras Baraka, the mayor of Newark, came onstage to emphasize that New Jersey must move forward, not regress.

“[Ciattarelli] wants to make our communities as lame as he is,” Baraka said. “Whatever we do, we can’t go back. When they ask you tonight at the dinner table, you say we can’t go back to Jack.”

Ras Baraka, the mayor of Newark, exclaiming "We can&squot;t go back to Jack." John LaRosa | The Montclarion

Ras Baraka, the mayor of Newark, urged voters to vote for Murphy.
John LaRosa | The Montclarion

Many guest speakers made an appearance at the event, including Lt. Gov. Sheila Oliver, actor and former White House staff member Kal Penn and Chairman of East Orange and Essex County LeRoy Jones.

Murphy came onstage to acknowledge the struggle his supporters faced during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

“For far too long, we underachieved,” Murphy said. “We let our people down. We didn’t make our pension payments, we stopped funding Planned Parenthood. We didn’t expand preschools. We didn’t pay our bills.”

Murphy said those days are over and New Jersey is facing a new turning point in the history of the state.

“It is sunrise in New Jersey,” Murphy said.

Governor Phill Murphy addressing the crowd about the hardships faced under COVID-19. John LaRosa | The Montclarion

Murphy addresses the crowd about the hardships faced during COVID-19.
John LaRosa | The Montclarion

After his speech, Murphy introduced Obama to the crowd, who received a standing ovation as soon as he stepped foot on the stage. Signs waved, people cheered and many smiled as he stepped forward to the microphone, waving to the crowd of supporters.

Former President Barack Obama (left) next to Governor Phill Murphy (right). John LaRosa | The Montclarion

Obama (left) next to Murphy (right).
John LaRosa | The Montclarion

Obama reaffirmed to the crowd the hard work he has seen Murphy put into his role as governor.

“[Murphy] knows that when you’re successful, part of the deal is that you give back and help other people become successful,” Obama said. “That’s the American way.”

Former President Barack Obama receiving a warm welcome from supporters in the crowd. John LaRosa | The Montclarion

Obama received a warm welcome from supporters in the crowd.
John LaRosa | The Montclarion

Obama further elaborated on how this election is going to affect the future of the younger generation, saying we can make New Jersey and America work by making the right choices. Much like Baraka, Obama stated the importance of progressing, not regressing.

Former President Barack Obama speaking at the Murphy Oliver rally. Michael Callejas | The Montclarion

Former President Barack Obama speaks at the Murphy-Oliver rally.
Michael Callejas | The Montclarion

“We are going to move forward with people like Phil leading the way,” Obama said.

The former president ended his speech by urging supporters to vote Democrat up and down the ballot.

A child holding a "Women for Murphy" sign. Michael Callejas | The Montclarion

A child holds a “Women for Murphy” sign. Michael Callejas | The Montclarion

As Obama waved to the crowd and walked offstage, the audience got up to give a round of applause for the former president and current governor.

An unidentified Gov. Murphy supporter reaching out to a friend in the rally crowd. John LaRosa | The Montclarion

An unidentified Murphy supporter reaches out to another person in the crowd.
John LaRosa | The Montclarion

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