Updated Mar 24, 2024 - Politics & Policy

Tammy Murphy drops out of New Jersey Senate race

New Jersey First Lady Tammy Murphy, wearing a black t-shirt and powder blue blazer, and holding a microphone, surrounded by supporters.

First Lady Tammy Murphy. Photo: Ira L. Black - Corbis/Getty Images.

New Jersey First Lady Tammy Murphy announced Sunday she is dropping out of her state's U.S. Senate race following a string of poor showings at local party conventions.

Why it matters: It clears a path for Rep. Andy Kim, whose grassroots support had been frustrating the establishment-backed Murphy, to win the Democratic nomination.

What she's saying: "After many busy, invigorating and, yes, challenging months, I am suspending my Senate campaign today," Murphy said in a video posted to X.

  • Murphy said continuing her campaign would "involve waging a very divisive and negative campaign, which I am not willing to do."
  • "With Donald Trump on the ballot and so much at stake for our nation, I will not, in good conscience, waste resources tearing down a fellow Democrat," she added.

The other side: Kim in a statement said Murphy "has been a voice for progress and public service," adding: "Tammy and I both agree that it is critical that we keep this seat, and the Senate, in Democratic control. Unity is vital."

The backdrop: Murphy and Kim jumped into the race for the seat after incumbent Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) was hit with explosive federal bribery charges last fall.

  • Murphy, the wife of New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, quickly racked up support from key state and county party leaders, as well as Kim's fellow House Democrats from New Jersey.

Of note: Menendez said last week he will not seek the Democratic nomination but will run as an "an independent Democrat" if he is exonerated at his trial in May.

Zoom out: Murphy's suspension is a blow to the Democratic Party order in New Jersey, one of the last bastions of old-school machine politics in the U.S.

Editor's note: This article has been updated with comment from Rep. Andy Kim.

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