New Jersey first lady Tammy Murphy announces run for US Senate seat in 2024
First lady Tammy Murphy formally announced her candidacy for the United States Senate on Wednesday. The wife of Gov. Phil Murphy put out a video message to say she will enter the June primary election in an attempt to take over the seat held by Sen. Bob Menendez.
Murphy started her career in finance working at Goldman Sachs, where she met her husband. As first lady, Murphy has stepped up to push for programs aimed at improving infant and maternal mortality, along with health care for those in need. She will continue that push along with an agenda that includes climate change, abortion rights and gun control. She is 58 years old and a mother to four children.
Murphy will face off against Menendez and Rep. Andy Kim.
Kim and Murphy have entered the race following Menendez's indictment on federal corruption charges.
Political analysts believe Murphy has a chance to win, mainly because she has campaign cash, the power of the governor’s office behind her and name recognition.
“You really want to be known outside of your region, and that’s something that she has,” says Micah Rasmussen, a political analyst with Rider University. “When you’re a congressman, let’s say like Andy Kim, you’re well-known in your district or your region but not necessarily known statewide.”
Even though the first lady hasn’t held office before, political analysts believe Murphy has a huge advantage because she has the governor’s office behind her and can pull in support from county Democratic bosses.
“The governor has a strong relationship with each of the county organizations across the state, who want things from the governor and will continue to want things from the governor for the next two years,” Rasmussen says.
Her detractors say she will have to answer for her husband’s misgivings in office.
“I think it’s going to be an uphill battle for her and New Jersey voters are going to have to decide do they want a Murphy monarchy here in New Jersey,” says Jeanette Hoffman, a Republican strategist. “She’s absolutely going to be tagged with her husband's disastrous record on the economy, on taxes, making New Jersey less affordable, closing businesses during COVID, putting seniors back in nursing homes with COVID. I think it would be great to see the first woman senator from New Jersey, but not this woman.”
Analysts say it’s all right for now to keep her name tagged to the governor but that she will need to distinguish herself from her husband.