The race for governor is officially underway, even though the actual election doesn’t take place for another year and a half.

Phil Murphy, businessman and former United States ambassador to Germany, has officially thrown his hat into the ring, making an announcement to supporters on a web video.

According to Ben Dworkin, a political science professor at Rider University, by becoming an official candidate now, Murphy, who’s almost a complete unknown, “will be able to get himself invited to certain events, and by doing so he’s able to introduce himself to the voters, which is going to be critical in what we expect to be a very competitive primary on the Democratic side.”

Dworkin pointed out even though Murphy is the first person to officially announce he’s a candidate for governor, there are several other individuals who are also interested in running, and have been working behind the scene for months, trying to line up support.

He said this group includes “Senate President Steve Sweeney and Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop, you have Senator Ray Lesniak, Assemblyman John Wisniewski.”

So when might they become official candidates?

“They’re in no hurry. It’s about when do you have your team ready, when do you want to announce, when do you want to officially start asking people – 'I’m going to need your commitment, we want you to be on our team,'” Dworkin said.

He suggested other candidates may not officially enter the race until the end of the year, or perhaps even later.

“We’ll elect the president, we’ll elect Congress and other offices in November, and sometime December, January, most people will officially announce,” he said.

Murphy has indicated he will be holding a series of town hall meetings, as well as telephonic town halls across the Garden state in the weeks and months ahead.

On Murphy's site, he says he's for a stronger minimum wage, more "innovative" job training, earned sick leave, affordable housing, equal pay for women and other progressive ideals.

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