Project Veritas video alleges Gov. Murphy will implement vaccine mandates if reelected
With a week to go until Election Day, the New Jersey governor’s race is being impacted by the surprise release of a hidden camera video taken by the conservative activist group Project Veritas. The video appears to show two advisors to Gov. Phil Murphy admitting that Murphy will implement vaccine mandates if reelected.
Wendy Martinez, who works in Hispanic outreach, says of the mandates: “He’s going to do it, but he couldn’t do it before the elections because (independent voters are) all into all the sh**, my rights, my sh**.”
Neither Martinez nor the other advisor, Matthew Urquijo, a digital manager for the Democrats’ statewide campaign, are particularly high-ranking and it’s not clear if they are speaking from personal knowledge or merely offering opinions.
At one point, a Project Veritas operative asks Urquijo, “Do you think he’ll do something about that? Like the vaccine mandates and stuff?” and Urquijo replies, “I think so. I think the problem is right now because it’s election season, he’s not going to have people say like, ‘We’re going to have a mandate now.’”
Tom Syzmanski, executive director of the New Jersey State Republican Committee, said in a written statement, “This extremely disturbing video appears to confirm what the Murphy campaign has been hinting at… that a second Murphy term will bring about the same type of vaccine passports seen in [Mayor] Bill de Blasio's New York, burdening already suffering businesses and discriminating against minority communities in which immunization rates are lower."
Project Veritas and its founder, James O’Keefe, have a controversial history. They’ve been accused of deceptively editing videos and sharing people’s private information. Murphy campaign spokesperson Jerrel Harvey criticized the challenger, former state Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli, for failing to condemn the video.
“Time and again, Assemblyman Ciattarelli has made demonstrably false and conspiratorial claims, and now he’s hit rock bottom by not condemning in the strongest possible terms the dangerous tactics of a far-right extremist,” Harvey said.
Notably, the Murphy administration did not address whether the governor will or won’t impose vaccine mandates if elected.
Whether the video has much impact on the race is unclear. Polls show most New Jersey residents support vaccine mandates, while those who oppose the mandates are largely also opposed to Murphy.