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Tammy Murphy drops out of New Jersey Senate race to replace indicted Bob Menendez

Tammy Murphy, the first lady of New Jersey, said she is suspending her campaign to replace indicted Senator Bob Menendez in a video posted to social media.

After four months of campaigning against Representative Andy Kim, Ms Murphy will depart from the race, saying she did not want to participate in “waging a very divisive and negative campaign.”

“I’ve 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’m not willing to do,” Ms Murphy said on Sunday.

Upon entering the Senate race in November, Ms Murphy was favoured to win given her political ties to major donors and organisations as well as her husband’s status as governor of New Jersey. However, her lack of political experience made her a target.

Meanwhile, Mr Kim criticised Ms Murphy for her ties to politicians and claimed she was being backed by donors and local leaders purely due to her status. He filed a lawsuit challenging the state’s primary ballot design which generally favours the candidate with the most endorsements.

U.S. Senate candidate Rep. Andy Kim congratulates fellow candidate New Jersey first lady Tammy Murphy just before it was announced she defeated him at the Bergen County Democratic convention in Paramus, N.J., Monday, March 4, 2024 (AP)
U.S. Senate candidate Rep. Andy Kim congratulates fellow candidate New Jersey first lady Tammy Murphy just before it was announced she defeated him at the Bergen County Democratic convention in Paramus, N.J., Monday, March 4, 2024 (AP)

Both candidates were vying to replace Mr Menendez who was indicted in September on criminal charges related to an alleged corruption and bribery scheme. Last week, Mr Menendez announced he would not seek re-election as a Democrat but would potentially consider running as an independent once his trial is over this summer.

Though Mr Kim entered the race after Ms Murphy, he managed to generate support and flip the endorsement of the mayor of Jersey City. Early polling showed Mr Kim with a 12-point lead over Ms Murphy.

Now with the conclusion of Ms Murphy’s campaign, Mr Kim is expected to secure the Democratic nomination and potentially replace Mr Menendez.

New Jersey is a blue state and has not elected a Republican Senator since 1966. Should voters continue to elect a Democratic Senator, Mr Kim would be the first Korean American member of the US Senate.

Upon announcing her departure from the campaign, Mr Kim issued a statement on X, saying “Let us also show our respect and appreciation to First Lady Tammy Murphy for her continued service to our state and country. It’s important to take a step back and remember that we are all a part of something bigger than all of us.”