Jan 18, 2024 - Politics & Policy

Rep. Andy Kim gets first Senate endorsement in bid to replace Menendez

Rep. Andy Kim. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images.

Sen. John Fetterman (D-Pa.) on Thursday endorsed Rep. Andy Kim (D-N.J.) in what is shaping up to be a hotly contested race for the Senate seat held by indicted Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.).

Why it matters: It’s the first Senate endorsement for Kim, who is well ahead in the polls but faces a structural deficit against New Jersey first lady Tammy Murphy, who has the backing of much of the state's Democratic establishment.

Driving the news: Fetterman, who was the first senator to call for Menendez to resign over the explosive bribery allegations in his federal indictment, called Kim “a man of integrity and deep honor.”

  • In a swipe at Murphy’s support from New Jersey’s Democratic political machine, Fetterman said “we're seeing it, now, taking on powerful political bosses as he fights to restore integrity to the Senate.”
  • The freshman senator also took a dig at Menendez, saying he feels “very secure knowing that [Kim] has no gold bars underneath his mattress and won't ever be accused of being a foreign agent for Egypt or Qatar."

The state of play: While Murphy hasn’t been backed by any senators – New Jersey’s other senator, Democrat Cory Booker, has kept his powder dry so far – she has the support of several of Kim’s fellow New Jersey House Democrats.

  • Kim, by contrast, has been endorsed by a half dozen of his House colleagues – but, as with Fetterman, they are all from neighboring Pennsylvania.
  • Perhaps more importantly, Murphy has racked up support from Democratic Party chairs in several of the state’s most populous counties, a major boost under New Jersey’s idiosyncratic electoral system.
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