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Politics

Tammy Murphy, wife of NJ Gov. Phil Murphy, launches bid to unseat indicted Sen. Bob Menendez

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Rebecca Picciotto@beccpicc

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Key Points
  • Tammy Murphy, the wife of New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, launched a primary campaign to unseat indicted Sen. Bob Menendez.
  • Initial polling found Murphy trails Democratic Rep. Andy Kim, who launched his campaign the day after Menendez was indicted on bribery and extortion charges.
  • Menendez is up for reelection in 2024, but he has left the door open to potentially retiring from Congress when his term is completed.

First Lady of New Jersey Tammy Snyder Murphy speaks as Governor Philip D. Murphy sworn in for his second term in office as the 56th Governor of the State of New Jersey at War Memorial Building in Trenton, New Jersey, United States on January 18, 2022.
Tayfun Coskun | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

Tammy Murphy, the wife of New Jersey Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy, launched a primary campaign Wednesday to unseat the state’s indicted Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez.

In a post on X, formerly Twitter, Murphy introduced her campaign with a video that highlighted her work on maternal healthcare and education reform.

She also spoke of officials in Washington who she said were “more interested in getting rich or getting on camera,” as images of Sens. Tommy Tuberville, R-Ala., Rand Paul, R-Ky. and Menendez played in the background.

Menendez and his wife were indicted in September on federal charges of bribery, conspiracy and extortion. Prosecutors allege that the state’s senior senator used his political clout to illegally assist the Egyptian government, several patrons and other allies, in exchange for lavish gifts of gold, cash and a luxury car.

Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., is seen after introducing Edward Sunyol Kiel, nominee to be U.S. District judge for the District of New Jersey, during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on judicial nominations in Dirksen Building on Wednesday, November 1, 2023.
Tom Williams | CQ-Roll Call, Inc. | Getty Images

Dozens of members of Congress in both parties have called on Menendez to resign in the wake of the charges. But Menendez has refused those calls, pleaded not guilty to the charges against him and has not ruled out a bid for reelection in 2024.

Still, polls showed Menendez’s approval rating in the single digits last month, suggesting he faces a steep path to reelection.

Tammy Murphy joined several other New Jersey democrats already vying for the Menendez seat.

One day after the charges against Menendez went public, Rep. Andy Kim announced his entrance into the senate race.

“Not something I expected to do, but N.J. deserves better,” Kim wrote in an X post launching his campaign.

So far, Kim is leading the field with roughly 40% of voter support, according to initial polling. Murphy was next with 21% and Menendez with 5%. Larry Hamm, a progressive activist who founded the People’s Organization for Progress, also filed to run for the seat in September.

Murphy met her husband while working for Goldman Sachs in the 1980s. She voted as a Republican up until the mid-2010’s, when she shifted her party affiliation because, she says, she disagreed with where the Republican party was headed. If elected, she would become the first woman to serve as a U.S. senator from New Jersey.