The primary election was held on June 7, 2005. U.S. Senator Jon Corzine won the Democratic nomination with no serious opposition. Former Mayor Doug Forrester received the Republican nomination with a plurality of 36%. Corzine defeated Forrester in the general election. Despite being a reliable blue Democratic state, this was the first gubernatorial election since 1977 where a Democratic candidate would be elected for consecutive terms, with that same year to this day being the most recent one where the same Democrat would be elected governor twice in a row.
The 2005 general election also saw a public referendum question on the ballot for the voters to decide whether to create a position of lieutenant governor, alter the state's order of succession, and whether the state's first lieutenant governor would be chosen in the subsequent gubernatorial election held in 2009. The question passed by a tally of 836,134 votes (56.1%) to 655,333 (43.9%)
The New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission declared that the four candidates would be included in the official gubernatorial debates to be aired on NJN. They included Jeffrey Pawlowski and Hector Castillo.
Results of the general election by municipality, darker colors indicate higher win percentage: -Blue municipalities won by Corzine -Red municipalities won by Forrester -Purple municipalities Corzine and Forrester tied