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President Joe Biden arrived at Central Jersey Airport to begin a tour of flood-damaged areas with Gov. Murphy. NorthJersey.com

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President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris on Wednesday endorsed Gov. Phil Murphy for reelection, two days before Harris was scheduled to visit New Jersey. 

Their endorsement of a fellow Democrat comes as little surprise and may not mean much in a contest recent public polling shows Murphy leading by between 9 and 13 percentage points. 

Yet their backing of Murphy gives him the ability to tell voters the White House supports his agenda and is confident of his leadership in the COVID-19 pandemic. 

"Governor Murphy is getting folks vaccinated to beat the pandemic. He’s delivering economic relief to working families and supports my plans to build back better by investing in our infrastructure and in our people — with child care, elder care, paid leave, and more," Biden said in a statement. 

"I stood with him in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida as he’s taking on the climate crisis. From lowering the cost of health care to improving access to education, Phil delivers for the people," Biden added. "He shares my optimism for the future. And he knows how to get the job done because he’s been doing it. We need to re-elect Phil Murphy as Governor of New Jersey." 

Harris, in a separate video message, praised the administration's diversity and policy achievements of raising the minimum wage, spending more money on public education and investing in clean energy jobs. 

"He is the partner President Joe Biden and I need in Trenton," she said. 

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Harris is expected to travel to New Jersey on Friday. A White House advisory said the vice president plans to visit Montclair and Newark, two Democratic strongholds of North Jersey. 

Murphy is expected to join the vice president, but details on the trip, which is not related to his reelection campaign, were still being finalized Wednesday, his office said. 

The last White House visit to New Jersey was when Biden was in Somerset County to tour damage from the remnants of Hurricane Ida. 

Murphy, who served as ambassador to Germany during the Obama administration, said on Twitter that Biden has been a "steadfast partner over the years." He also had Biden's endorsement in his successful 2017 campaign. 

The visit by Harris would come four days before Murphy is scheduled to face his Republican challenger, Jack Ciattarelli, in their second and final debate before the Nov. 2 election. 

New Jersey is one of just two states with a gubernatorial election this year. In the other contest, Republican nominee Glenn Youngkin has received the endorsement of former President Donald Trump against Virginia's Democratic nominee, former Gov. Terry McAuliffe. 

Although he spends considerable time in New Jersey at his golf course in Bedminster — in Ciattarelli's home county of Somerset — Trump has not endorsed in the New Jersey governors' race. 

Bob Hugin, chairman of New Jersey's Republican State Committee and a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps, criticized Murphy's acceptance of the endorsement in light of the chaotic and deadly withdrawal from Afghanistan last month. 

"From their misguided foreign policy to their trillions in inflationary spending that is hurting already overtaxed New Jersey families, Phil Murphy should be embarrassed to receive their support," Hugin said in a statement. 

Dustin Racioppi is a reporter in the New Jersey Statehouse. For unlimited access to his work covering New Jersey’s governor and political power structure, please subscribe or activate your digital account today.

Email: racioppi@northjersey.com 

Twitter: @dracioppi 

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