Andy Kim wins New Jersey Democratic Senate primary for indicted Bob Menendez’s seat

Democratic Rep. Andy Kim has won New Jersey’s Senate primary.

Associated Press

Jun 5, 2024, 12:23 AM

Updated 11 days ago

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Democratic Rep. Andy Kim won New Jersey’s Senate primary Tuesday, putting him in strong position for the general election in the blue-leaning state, though the win comes a day after Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez filed to run as an independent amid his federal corruption trial.
Kim, a three-term congressman who launched his campaign after charges against Menendez were announced last year, rose to the top in the state's dominant political party over a relatively short period. A former Obama national security official, he defeated an incumbent Republican in a 2018 House race and won a court ruling that toppled a unique-to-New Jersey system widely viewed as giving political bosses influence on who wins primaries.
“Our win today is a stunning victory for a people-powered movement that mobilized against corruption and stood up to the machine politics of New Jersey,” Kim said in a statement.
His victory comes after a bruising start to the primary, when a battle between him and New Jersey first lady Tammy Murphy began to take shape. Murphy, a first-time candidate and the spouse of Gov. Phil Murphy, bowed out of the contest, saying she did not want to engage in a negative campaign against a fellow Democrat. On Tuesday, Kim defeated labor leader Patricia Campos-Medina and longtime grassroots organizer Lawrence Hamm, who remained on the ballot.
Menendez, a three-term incumbent senator, declined this year to seek re-election as a Democrat but filed Monday in Trenton to run as an independent. He has said he hopes to be cleared of the charges this summer.
Democrats’ tight hold on control of the Senate means they can hardly afford a competitive race in a state widely viewed as safe for the party. It’s unclear how Menendez’s trial will end up and how his candidacy could affect the race. Republicans are eager to exploit his run as a wedge to divide the Democratic vote.
Kim attacked Menendez and sought to link him to former President Donald Trump.
New Jersey has a choice: the chaos and corruption of Bob Menendez and Donald Trump, or a politics that works for families struggling to get by,” he said Tuesday.
Kim is known as a mild-mannered legislator who gained recognition for helping clean up the Capitol after the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection.
Murphy joined the contest later last year and quickly earned support from influential county party leaders, a sign that she would be earning their endorsement and with it the so-called county line — or favorable positioning on the primary ballot.
But Kim and other candidates sued to stop that decades-old practice, which is widely viewed as giving New Jersey party bosses sway over primaries, and a federal judge agreed to halt it.
Kim, 41, is a native of southern New Jersey and returned to his home state in 2018 to run for Congress, defeating Republican Tom MacArthur in the 3rd District. A Rhodes Scholar, Kim served in the Obama administration as a national security adviser, working at the departments of State and Defense as well as the National Security Council.


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