Mar 25, 2024 - Politics & Policy

Tammy Murphy's congressional backers trickle into Andy Kim's camp

Rep. Bill Pascrell, wearing a blue suit, white shirt and blue tie, sitting in a brown leather committee room chair in front of a blurred plaque.

Rep. Bill Pascrell. Photo: Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images.

Rep. Andy Kim (D-N.J.) is gradually lapping up endorsements from his fellow New Jersey House Democrats who had been backing New Jersey First Lady Tammy Murphy – most recently Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-N.J.).

Why it matters: With Murphy dropping out of the race on Sunday, Kim is solidifying his position as the overwhelming frontrunner in the primary.

  • Kim's triumph is a blow to New Jersey's powerful political establishment, which had overwhelmingly supported Murphy.

What they're saying: "Some people say it's better to be late to a great party than to miss it entirely," Pascrell told Axios in a statement.

  • "In that spirit I'm delighted to endorse my colleague Congressman Andy Kim to be our great state's next great US Senator ... Our next Democratic government starts in New Jersey with the Biden-Kim ticket."
  • Rep. Mikie Sherrill (D-N.J.) was the first to flip on Monday, saying in a post on X: "I look forward to working with [Kim] to protect our Senate Democratic majority and keep New Jersey blue."
  • Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-N.J.) followed suit in a statement, first reported by Politico, saying: "With so much at stake in our country — from reproductive freedom to affordability to protecting our democracy — now is the time to come together as a united party."

The backdrop: Murphy, the wife of New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, had secured endorsements from most of New Jersey's Democratic congressional delegation, as well as powerful local and county party bosses.

  • Kim, by contrast, had endorsements from several House colleagues in neighboring Pennsylvania and New York, former New Jersey members and Sen. John Fetterman (D-Pa.).
  • But Kim repeatedly prevailed in contested county party conventions and held a consistent lead in the polls, giving Murphy little hope of prevailing in the Democratic primary.

State of play: Kim is running for the seat currently held by Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), who has said he will contest the seat as an independent Democrat should he win his bribery trial in May.

  • New Jersey is not likely to be highly competitive in the general election — which will coincide with a presidential election in which Democrats are likely to win the state by double digits.
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