New Jersey First Lady Drops out of Race Against Sen. Menendez

Joseph Lord
By Joseph Lord
March 24, 20242024 Elections
New Jersey First Lady Drops out of Race Against Sen. Menendez
New Jersey first lady Tammy Murphy speaks to delegates in Paramus, N.J., on March 4, 2024. (Seth Wenig/AP Photo)

New Jersey First Lady Tammy Murphy has announced that she’s dropping out of the race to replace embattled Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) in Congress’s upper chamber.

Ms. Murphy, wife of New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, entered the race in November, but struggled in polling against U.S. Rep. Andy Kim (D-N.J.).

The three-way race for the Democratic nomination between incumbent Mr. Menendez, Mr. Kim, and Ms. Murphy comes amid a scandal for Mr. Menendez and his wife, who have faced multiple Department of Justice (DOJ) indictments for allegedly accepting bribes to act on Egypt’s behalf.

Ms. Murphy, who struggled with political optics as the wife of a sitting governor, made the announcement that she was bowing out of the race in a video posted to X.

“After many busy, invigorating, and, yes, challenging months, I am suspending my Senate campaign today,” Ms. Murphy said. “I have been genuine and factual throughout, but it is clear to me that continuing in this race will involve waging a very divisive and negative campaign, which I am not willing to do.”

She cited gun control, abortion, and climate change as “what’s at stake in this election.”

She also claimed that former President Donald Trump and “far-right extremists” pose “grave threats on the national level.”

“With Donald Trump on the ballot and so much at stake for our nation, I will not waste resources tearing down a fellow Democrat,” she said.

“New Jersey’s next senator must focus on the issues of our time and not be mired in tearing others down while dividing the people of our party and state,” Ms. Murphy said. “I’m making this decision because this campaign has never been about me. And right now, I know that the best thing we can do for New Jersey is unite and focus on the real issues at hand.”

Ms. Murphy said her main focus now will be on “re-electing President [Joe] Biden and ensuring Democratic victories up and down the ballot.”

Notably, however, despite her clear calls for Democratic unity, Ms. Murphy did not directly endorse Mr. Kim or Mr. Menendez in her announcement video.

Nevertheless, polling already showed that Mr. Kim has a substantial share of voters’ support, and is leading the pack in surveys of New Jersey Democrats.

A poll released by Fairleigh Dickinson University on Feb. 2 showed Mr. Kim leading among voters with 32 percent support.

Ms. Murphy lagged well behind with 20 percent support.

Mr. Menendez, meanwhile, garnered only 9 percent support—barely beating labor activist Patricia Campos-Medina, who garnered 8 percent, and suggesting that most voters don’t buy Mr. Menendez’s claims that he’s innocent of the charges against him.

With Ms. Murphy’s exit from the race, and with polling suggesting that Mr. Menendez is down more than 20 points over Mr. Kim, Mr. Kim seems poised to easily clinch the Democratic nomination.

And in the blue leaning state, which hasn’t voted for a Republican in a statewide race since 1988, winning the Democratic endorsement is all but guaranteed to catapult Mr. Kim into the upper chamber during the 119th Congress.

From The Epoch Times

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