What’s next for Tammy Murphy’s Senate campaign after her home loss? | stile


long branch – Tammy MurphyThe first lady of New Jersey and a candidate for U.S. Senate pledged Saturday at the Monmouth County Democratic Party convention to represent Bacon if she is sent to Washington.

But in a stunning rebuke, the pitch to her home county failed to win over a majority of the 466 voting panel members, who gave their endorsement to rookie Andy Kim, a Burlington County congressman seeking to exploit popular discontent with the election. The Democratic Party’s closed nomination process — and with Murphy’s nomination.

Kim received 265 votes, or 57% of the vote, while Murphy received 181 votes, or 39%, and Patricia Campos Medina, a Latina activist, received 20 votes, or 4%.

It gives Kim, a third-term congressman and former national security official in the Obama administration, the party’s endorsement and now means Kim will be bracketed “on the line” with the county’s other endorsed candidates in the June primary.

It’s a coveted position that gives a huge competitive advantage in Monmouth County — candidates who win the class usually win the primary.

The race isn’t over yet — Monmouth Democrats make up about 6% of all Democrats in New Jersey, and Murphy has already secured the endorsement of county leaders in the Democratic fiefdoms of Essex, Bergen, Hudson and Passaic counties, which traditionally translates to a cruise-control victory for the nomination.

But Saturday’s victory now raises questions about whether the top-down administration in those major Democratic provinces is able to exert enough force to avert a Kim rebellion.

After Murphy congratulated him after the vote was announced, Kim said he now has momentum moving toward the larger nomination contests.

“I think this is very clear… it shows that there is nothing inevitable in this race,” Kim told reporters inside the Long Branch Portuguese Club. “There is nothing. There is no sense that anyone is destined to win this thing. This confirms what I’ve always believed, which is that we are the campaign that has the momentum, that we are the campaign that has the energy.”

U.S. Rep. Andy Kim, D-3, makes his bid as Senate candidate to Democrats in Monmouth County on Saturday, February 10, 2024.

U.S. Rep. Andy Kim, D-3, makes his bid as Senate candidate to Democrats in Monmouth County on Saturday, February 10, 2024.

Murphy and her entourage, including her husband, the governor. Phil MurphyThe member of the voting committee quickly left the hall without speaking to reporters. But her campaign issued a statement noting that it was “pleased” with the “wave of support,” including a ballot-line win from the Passaic County Democratic Screening Committee earlier in the day.

“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,” campaign spokeswoman Alex Altman said in a prepared statement. “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. New Jersey needs a senator who will stand up to MAGA Republicans and their harmful agenda.”

Murphy’s nomination is not without controversy

The initial battle began last fall after federal prosecutors indicted Sen. Robert Menendez, D-Hudson, on charges that he received bribes from the Egyptian and Qatari governments in exchange for taking official actions on their behalf. Menendez denied the accusations.

He did not say whether he would seek re-election, but his name was not submitted for Saturday’s endorsement contest. He has resisted calls from Democrats in Washington and New Jersey to resign.

Kim was the first to jump into the race after he was indicted in September, but Murphy quickly won the support of some powerful party leaders shortly after entering the race in November. That has angered some liberal activists and grassroots groups who have campaigned in recent years to break the power of county parties and use the certification process to protect incumbents and crush competition.

But Murphy’s entry fueled another dimension of discontent. Many see the rapid support from large Democratic districts as a blatant form of dynastic cronyism.

Tammy Murphy addresses the Monmouth County Democratic Organization on Saturday, February 10, 2024.

Tammy Murphy addresses the Monmouth County Democratic Organization on Saturday, February 10, 2024.

They alleged that Murphy, a first-time presidential candidate, took advantage of the enormous power at her husband’s disposal — the ability to shut down appointments, patronage, funding and legislation coveted by many county leaders. Many are also lobbyists whose firms have business before state government.

The governor’s power provided an unspoken incentive for many provincial chiefs to lend their support to his wife.

This did not go down well with the party rank and file who voted to grant the line. But it wasn’t clear how deep that discontent ran until Saturday, when Murphy failed to use her good will and hometown connections to calm the anger. Recognizing the challenge, Murphy personally sought to canvass votes through phone calls to members.

Behind her was a platoon of powerful Monmouth leaders, including longtime U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone, a Monmouth County powerhouse for nearly three decades who introduced Murphy to the convention, and state Sen. Vin Gopal, D-Monmouth, who won reelection Last November. In a stunning defeat. Also on hand were a group of party activists, including Paige Schaefer, chairwoman of the Somerset County Democratic Party and vice chair of the state Democratic Party.

But this show of force could not overcome skepticism about Murphy’s experience when compared to Kim, who turned on Trump’s district in 2018 and went on to defeat two wealthy Republican challengers in 2020 and 2022. She registered as a Republican until 2014, long after her husband served as German ambassador during the Obama administration.

“She was a Republican,” said Margaret Beckman, a committee member from Freehold Township. “I don’t know if I can trust her.”

At the same time, Murphy doubled down on her appeal to female voters, saying Washington needed a “gritty Jersey Girl” and that a female senator would be better off entrusted with the crusade for reproductive rights than a man. Both Murphy and Kim support a national law guaranteeing abortion rights.

“Little girls are growing up with fewer rights than they had,” she said, referring to the Supreme Court ruling that struck down the constitutional right to abortion in 2022.

This article originally appeared on NorthJersey.com: What’s next for Tammy Murphy’s Senate campaign? | stile

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