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New Jersey's Non-Indicted First Lady Tammy Murphy Set To Challenge Perpetual Corruption Machine Bob Menendez
Her noted lack of indictments is impressive.
Yes, it’s been almost two months since Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez was indicted for bribery charges and a few weeks since his encore indictment for conspiring to work as a foreign agent. Menendez isn’t going anywhere, though. The food in the Senate cafeteria is apparently just that good.
However, New Jersey deserves better than Menendez’s blatant corruption. Rep. Andy Kim is officially challenging Mendendez in the upcoming Democratic primary for Senate.
“It doesn’t have to be this broken politics where you just have people putting their own personal ambition ahead of what’s good for this country,” Kim said Friday before a packed crowd at a South Jersey brewery. “It’s about being a decent human being — a decent human being that treats other people with respect.”
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Kim was especially pissed off by Menendez’s refusal to even consider stepping down after his Columbia House Indictment membership started.
“I felt like he was saying, ‘This is mine. This is my seat,’” Kim said. “We know that, actually, it’s the people’s seat.”
Someone else wants the “people’s seat,” as well. The first lady of New Jersey herself, Tammy Murphy, is expected to declare her candidacy sometime this week. The website TammyMurphyNJ.com was registered on November 2, and it’s probably not for a hoagie shop. Facebook has approved her request for a “political candidate” page, where she probably won’t share lists of her favorite New Jersey hoagies but will run fundraising ads for her upcoming campaign.
Murphy grew up as a Republican and donated to Republican candidates, including noted painter George W. Bush. She switched parties in the mid-2000s because of her positions on abortion, gun safety, and the environment. She met Phil Murphy in 1987 when they both worked at Goldman Sachs. She has no real political experience, but she was appointed Honorary Chair of the New Jersey Council on the Green Economy in 2021. (It’s possible that last sentence does not contradict the first.)
So, Tammy Murphy’s candidacy is a little awkward, considering Gov. Phil Murphy has called for Menendez’s resignation. He’s all kinds of corrupt, sure, but it’s highly unlikely Tammy Murphy would have challenged a sitting incumbent who wasn’t embroiled in a scandal. Also, if Menendez had resigned, would Murphy have appointed his own wife to replace him? That’s obviously less scuzzy than (allegedly) stuffing your suit pockets with bribe money, but it’s not entirely on the up and up. Last Friday, Menendez took a direct shot at Kim while only alluding to Murphy in a very catty way.
“To those who have rushed to judgment all in the name of political expediency,” Menendez said, “I’ll gladly put up my record of success on behalf of the people of New Jersey against Andy Kim or anyone else.”
Anyone Else is a great title for a movie about an underestimated, plucky woman Senate candidate who runs against a corrupt incumbent. I’ve already cast Elizabeth Gillies, who’s a great singer and every story’s better as a musical. The underdog factor doesn’t work as well, though, if the lead is the state’s current first lady.
Menendez’s chief of staff, Jason Tuber, slammed former New Jersey Gov. Richard J. Codey for proactively endorsing Tammy Murphy.
“As someone who said, and I quote, ‘a vote for Menendez is a vote for decency, honesty and integrity’ after the last time the government falsely accused the Senator of wrongdoing,” Tuber said, “it is curious that state Senator Codey is ignoring the presumption of innocence now when political expediency demands it.”
Codey is 76, which is admittedly on the younger side for politicians these days, but he’s not planning to run for re-election. There is no political expediency in his endorsement, and it’s possible to support another candidate without assuming Menendez’s guilt.
Kim was leading Menendez by 40 points in polls (ooh, scary!) conducted before Tammy Murphy entered the race. New Jersey’s first lady is probably a serious contender, but at this point, I don’t care much who beats Mendendez. If he were to squeak out a primary win, we’re guaranteed to lose his seat in the general election.
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