Andy Kim drowns First Lady Tammy Murphy at the first Democratic caucus for the Senate race in New Jersey

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LONG BRANCH, N.J. — Rep. Andy Kim on Saturday won by a landslide in New Jersey’s first Democratic caucus Senate primary to replace indicted Sen. Bob Menendez, defeating First Lady Tammy Murphy in her home district.

Murphy is presumed to be the front-runner because of her high profile as first lady, her formidable fundraising abilities, and, most importantly, the early support she has received from county party leaders in the state’s more Democratic-rich areas. But it failed to secure support in Monmouth County, located along the Jersey Shore.

Kim He won the contest by a landslide, receiving 56.8 percent of the vote. Murphy received 38.8 percent, while another candidate, progressive labor activist Patricia Campos Medina, received 4.2 percent. 466 votes were cast.

Speaking to reporters after the vote, Kim said he entered the competition and “legitimately did not know” what the outcome would be.

“It shows that nothing is inevitable in this race,” Kim said. “There’s nothing inevitable. There’s no sense that anyone is destined to win this thing. It confirmed what I’ve always believed — we’re the campaign that has the momentum.”

Murphy spoke briefly with Kim after his win and promptly left the conference. Her campaign highlighted Murphy’s endorsement from Passaic County Democrats that same day.

“[Tammy Murphy] “She is thrilled by the overwhelming support she has received from faith leaders, community members, elected officials, unions, and now Passaic County,” her spokesman Alex Altman said in a statement. “Tammy is grateful for all the votes she received today from Monmouth County, and she is also grateful for all the delegates who stayed in the room during the long day. Tammy congratulated Andy on his hard-fought win today in Monmouth, and she looks forward to continuing her work to build a strong coalition across the state and gain the support of voters in New Jersey.

Victory has both practical and symbolic purposes. It shows that Kim’s candidacy has momentum and that he can consolidate support from rank-and-file Democrats, which will be crucial to countering institutional support for Murphy from Democratic Party leaders across the state. While on the stump before the convention vote, Kim received raucous applause compared to the tepid cheers for Murphy.

It also means Kim will get what’s called a county line in Monmouth, a unique feature of New Jersey’s primary ballot. Almost the entire state — with the exception of two counties — uses what’s called a party-line system, where party-endorsed candidates appear on the ballot together in one column, making them appear more legitimate to voters. In theory, other candidates could form their own competing “line” of candidates on the ballot, although this rarely happens. Kim’s victory at the congress means that he will appear with other party-endorsed candidates at the polls.

Each county in the state varies in how the county party awards the line, although in some parts of the state the support of a single party leader is all that is required. Others, like Monmouth, host conventions where local party officials can vote on who they want to endorse.

Murphy already has the so-called line closed in some heavily Democratic counties in the central and northern parts of the state thanks to the help of influential party leaders — many of whom have financial interests with the state’s governor. Phil Murphy in the office.

The ruler himself was present at the conference. As an elected official in Monmouth County, he is entitled to vote in the convention.

Menendezwho has not said whether he is seeking re-election because he faces corruption charges, did not participate in the Monmouth convention because, An aide told Politico“The process is likely to be pre-determined.”

Monmouth is the first Democratic county organization in the state to host a convention. according to Country dataThere are 140,000 registered Democrats here, representing 5.6% of Democratic primary voters — making the party line here a major advantage.

Both Kim and Murphy have roots here. Kim represents parts of Monmouth County in Congress while Murphy has lived in Middletown, the county’s largest city, since about 2000. Both campaigns had received support from Democrats in Monmouth County ahead of the convention, and their endorsement lists were unveiled before Saturday (Murphy revealed an endorsement list that… The New Jersey Globe reported (Including people who later said they did not support her candidacy.)

“If we can win here where they’ve lived for decades, I think that sends a very strong message to all the counties. The energy we have is real and should not be underestimated,” Kim said.

The convention also previewed the Democratic competition to replace Kim in the 3rd Congressional District, where Assemblyman Herb Conway beat Assemblywoman Carol Murphy, who is not related to Phil or Tammy Murphy. While the district is primarily centered around Burlington County, it includes parts of Mercer and Monmouth counties in the southern and central parts of the state, respectively.

Tammy Murphy — a registered Republican until 2014 — has portrayed herself as a progressive, telling convention delegates before the vote that she supports abortion rights and that “it’s time to pass ‘Medicare for All’ because health care is a right, not a privilege.” “.

Democratic Representative Frank Pallonea strong supporter of Murphy’s candidacy and a fellow Monmouth County resident, introduced Murphy at the convention and said she was better equipped to handle abortion rights.

After the results were announced, Pallone said he was “disappointed” but still supported Murphy “100 percent.”

“We will work hard in Monmouth County and across the state to make sure she wins the primary,” he said. “And I believe it will.”

However, Pallone was noncommittal on whether he would choose to align with Murphy on the primary ballot, which could make her appear more prominent to voters. Such a move would mean he avoids endorsing the county party.

“I haven’t made a decision about what to do,” he told reporters.

Kim told convention goers before the vote that he wanted to legalize and protect abortion rights and pointed to Menendez’s indictment — saying voters would not have to question his integrity.

“You deserve a representative you can trust,” he added. “I’m not perfect. I am [may cast] Votes you won’t agree with 100 percent. But you’ll never have to wonder why I do what I do.

The next Democratic county convention is scheduled for February 24 in Burlington County, which Kim will likely win.

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