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New Jersey’s First Lady Tammy Murphy Ends Her Senate Campaign

Ira L. Blac/Getty Images
Ira L. Blac/Getty Images

Tammy Murphy, the first lady of New Jersey, announced on Sunday that she was suspending her Senate primary campaign “after many busy, invigorating and, yes, challenging months.” Her exit means that the Democratic nomination will likely be given to her only major opponent in the race, Rep. Andy Kim.

Murphy invoked Kim in a video statement posted on social media explaining her decision, but did not directly name or endorse him. Instead, she said that she believed continuing in the race would necessitate mounting “a very divisive and negative campaign” against Kim, which she was unwilling to do.

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

Murphy and Kim had been battling to secure the Democratic Party’s nomination for the Senate seat currently held by the embattled Sen. Bob Menendez, who was indicted on a slew of corruption and bribery charges last year. (Kim, a third-term congressman, is still being challenged for the Democratic nomination by long-shot candidates Patricia Campos-Medina, Lawrence Hamm, and Patrick Merrill, but his victory is all but assured with Murphy out.)

Menendez said earlier this week that he would not seek re-election as a Democrat, teasing that he might launch an independent bid for a fourth term—if exonerated.

Murphy jumped into the race in November. The Garden State’s first lady since 2018, she quickly secured endorsements from top party leaders, but struggled to gain traction with rank-and-file voters. Kim steadily out-polled her and won support at the grassroots level, scoring several endorsements at county conventions, where lower-ranking party members make the decisions.

His success has caused some leading officials to think twice about having thrown their weight behind Murphy.

Earlier this week, Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop said that he had made an error endorsing Murphy so early in the race. “I told @AndyKimNJ it’s not always comfortable to admit a mistake but clearly I made one here and this convention season has demonstrated he is the better candidate to represent NJ,” he tweeted. “The backbone of our party volunteers and activists have spoken loudly and we should listen to them.”

Kim, who announced his campaign a day after Menendez’s indictment, is also suing to abolish county lines, a ballot design unique to New Jersey that favors party-backed candidates. A judge is expected to rule on the lawsuit as early as Monday, according to the New Jersey Globe.

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