New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy, a Democrat, was on the receiving end of a steady stream of boos after he was brought on stage during a concert in Red Bank.
During a performance at Red Rock Tap & Grill in Red Bank, singer Brian Kirk invited Murphy to join him on stage. The governor was then met with loud boos from the audience. After hugging and shaking hands with band members, he turned and walked off the stage without giving a statement.
“Hey, what did I tell you guys,” a visibly frustrated Kirk told the audience. “Listen to me. Listen to me. He didn’t want to hear that. He’s a buddy of mine. This is not about politics. He’s a friend of mine. Do not do that. Please. Don’t do that.”
Murphy has served as New Jersey’s governor since 2018, when he was elected to replace the termed-out Chris Christie, who left office with an abysmal approval rating. After cruising to the governor’s mansion in the 2017 election, he faced stiff competition from Republican challenger Jack Ciattarelli in 2021, who hammered the incumbent over his COVID/lockdown record.
Murphy ultimately emerged victorious in a race that was much closer than polls had predicted, winning by less than 90,000 votes and a little more than three percentage points. This represented a massive swing from 2017, when Murphy defeated GOP challenger Kim Guadagno by more than 300,000 votes.
Despite the close call in 2021, Murphy has maintained generally favorable approval ratings throughout his tenure. A recent poll from Rutgers-Eagleton pegged the governor’s approval rating at 47%, though 50% of respondents said they believe the state is heading in the wrong direction compared with 42% who said New Jersey is headed in the right direction.