A petition to recall Gov. Phil Murphy (D.) was approved by the New Jersey Division of Elections after months of delays, and organizers are now mobilizing to collect enough signatures for a recall election to remove him over what they say are his misguided and radical policies.
Somerset County resident Terry Beck, one of three women behind the grassroots effort, told the Washington Free Beacon she has hundreds of people with whom she is coordinating, including in law enforcement and veterans, who disapprove of Murphy's performance and policies, especially on immigration.
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"The driving factor to challenge Mr. Murphy—not even on just a state level but on a federal level as well—was when he decided that he would put New Jersey tax-paying citizens (doing the right thing) at risk by ‘enabling' criminals/illegals to enter and exist on ‘our' American property while breaking the federal law and we would be forced to pay for their free ride while stripping all levels of law enforcement duties to protect us," said Beck.
Murphy declaring New Jersey a sanctuary state was the impetus, but other contributing factors to the effort include Murphy's gun laws and what the group believes is his disrespect for veterans.
Murphy declared that New Jersey would be a "sanctuary" state last November. His attorney general issued new guidelines to law enforcement when dealing with illegal immigrants, effectively banning officers from cooperating with ICE. The attorney general's directive also states officers cannot ask about immigration status unless it involves a serious offense.
Mario Suarez, a retired Atlantic City police officer who owns numerous small businesses, is supporting the recall and said he will do whatever he can to remove Murphy from office.
"The policies of the governor have been completely anti-police," he said in a phone interview.
Suarez, who also runs a private investigative agency, employs numerous law enforcement officers. He said "zero" support Murphy.
"They are all complaining they aren't allowed to cooperate with ICE," said Suarez. "I don't know a single law enforcement person—not one—who supports him."
Other reasons Suarez cited for recalling Murphy include free college tuition for illegal immigrants, paid legal fees so they can remain in the country, the gas tax, a $15 minimum wage, and high property taxes.
"We need someone who understands and responds to the people of New Jersey," said Suarez. "We need to get him out as soon as possible. Almost anyone could be better."
Murphy also riled gun owners when he signed into law several gun bills last year.
Anthony Colandro, owner of the Gun for Hire range, told the Free Beacon he is promoting the effort "because there is nothing more repulsive than a rich socialist."
"He passed eight gun laws that have made it harder for law-abiding citizens," Colandro said, adding it will do nothing to lower crime.
Colandro also listed a litany of Murphy's policies, including his new rainfall tax, his gas tax, his $2.2 million authorization for legal defense funds for illegal immigrants, and his $2.5 million authorization for college for illegal immigrants.
"When you have a socialist running the top, so focused on the radical base … law-abiding citizens are kind of lost and have become the forgotten man," said Colandro. "We are seeing a high level of frustration and there is no end in sight."
Gov. Murphy's office did not respond to several requests for comment.
"A recall petition has been submitted and approved," Trudi Gilfillian, director of communications for the N.J. Department of State, said in an email on Monday. "The next step is to obtain at least 1,469,420 signatures to be valid."
The required number of signatures must be collected in 320 days from the time the petition was approved for a recall gubernatorial election to be held.
The number of signatures needed amounts to 25 percent of the registered voters in the state. According to Division of Elections data, only 39 percent, or 2.2 million people, voted in the 2017 election of Murphy, of the 5.7 million eligible voters.
An official website dubbed Help Save NJ and its Facebook page, Recall Phil Murphy Petition, is garnering increased attention with many residents expressing their support for Murphy's ouster. The organizers said they have reached 250,000 people so far.