Andy Kim won the NJ Senate primary

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It was almost two months before another major Democrat, first lady Tammy Murphy, announced her own candidacy for the seat.
With that, she was expected to have the “county line” in the majority of Democratic vote-rich counties.
But Kim sued, arguing the county line was unconstitutional.
And just days later, a federal judge sided with Kim and eliminated the line for this year’s Democratic primary while the larger case continues in court.
(Republicans still have the county line in this year’s primary.)
“We were actually surprised that Andy continued to pursue this [lawsuit] after we all gave him our slogans,” Somerset County Democratic Chair Peg Schaffer said in a phone interview.
In Tuesday’s primary, Kim defeated former labor leader Patricia Campos Medina and social justice activist Lawrence Hamm, who both campaigned against the county line system.
The Republican race between Curtis Bashaw and Christine Serrano Glassner was not called by the Associated Press Tuesday night, as Kim’s contest was.

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Still greatly favored to be the next U.S. senator from New Jersey is Kim, 41. s. senator from a state that hasn’t chosen a Republican to represent it in the upper house in fifty-two years. However, he may now have to run against the Republican nominee and Menendez, who stated on Monday that he plans to run on his extensive congressional record but could not be reached for comment.

Few would have predicted this course of events prior to Menendez’s extensive indictment in September on allegations of bribery, obstruction of justice, and operating as an unregistered foreign agent. Kim took a risk, though, as New Jersey Democrats handled the heartbreaking news with caution.

Kim outdid the state’s political establishment by hours when she became the first prominent Democrat to call for Menendez’s resignation on the day federal prosecutors announced his indictment. Kim declared his candidacies for the Senate the next day. Before first lady Tammy Murphy, a prominent Democrat, declared her own candidacy for the position, it was almost two months.

Nearly all of the state’s influential people backed Murphy right away. In the majority of Democratic-voting counties, she was therefore anticipated to have the “county line.”. By placing party-backed candidates in a single column or row with other party-backed candidates, ranging from town council to president, the line has given them an advantage over other candidates for decades. This arrangement typically results in their ballot placement being favorable.

Kim, however, sued, claiming that the county line violated the constitution. Murphy left the race after his bossy campaign alienated a large portion of the Democratic base that supported Kim. A few days later, a federal judge decided to support Kim, eliminating the line for the Democratic primary this year while the main legal dispute is still pending. In this year’s primary, Republicans still hold the county line. ).

Kim, a progressive celebrity now, gained notoriety up until recently when she was seen in pictures clearing out Capitol debris left over from the January 6 riot. And even though Kim chose to press his lawsuit against the county line after Murphy withdrew, some Democratic chairs in the state are still upset about it. Nevertheless, Kim is their nominee by default.

In a phone interview, Somerset County Democratic Chair Peg Schaffer stated, “We were actually surprised that Andy continued to pursue this [lawsuit] after we all gave him our slogans.”.

Kim prevailed over social justice activist Lawrence Hamm and former labor leader Patricia Campos Medina on Tuesday in the primary. Both candidates ran anti-county line campaigns. While Kim’s contest was called by the Associated Press on Tuesday night, the Republican contest between Curtis Bashaw and Christine Serrano Glassner was not.

Kim has a strong advantage over the other player. In addition to not casting a red ballot in a presidential election since 1988, New Jersey hasn’t supported a Republican for the Senate since 1972. Furthermore, the Senate Republicans’ campaign arm has attempted to pin Menendez’s legal issues on more vulnerable Democrats in other states rather than concentrate on flipping his seat.

If the contest is closer than anticipated, however, Menendez’s independent candidacy could present a gap for Republicans. Menendez declared in March that, should he be found not guilty, he would run for reelection as a “independent Democrat,” but he hasn’t stated outright that he will take his name off the ballot. He can make a decision until August 16th.

After casting his ballot in Moorestown on Tuesday, Kim told reporters that Menendez was “putting his own personal benefit ahead of what’s right for the country.”. “.

The dynamic is altered, according to Kim, by the presence of a sitting senator in the contest. “How will it affect the electorate’s mood and the race if a senator is in court and couldn’t even personally drop off his ballot petitions yesterday?”.

At least one prominent Democrat, Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop, has conceded that Menendez might try to “throw the race into chaos” in order to obtain clemency in the event that Donald Trump wins the presidency.

In New Jersey, Menendez is extremely unpopular. 75% of New Jerseyans believed he was “probably guilty,” 63% felt he should step down right away, and 74% were dissatisfied with his work performance, according to a March Monmouth University poll. Additionally, independent candidates have never before won a statewide election in New Jersey. There is very little chance that he will be reelected to the position he has held since 2006.

Democrats must consider whether Menendez, should he continue to run, can garner enough Democratic support from Kim to truly jeopardize his candidacy.

“Whenever we’ve conducted a poll on him other than when he’s been involved in legal issues, a sizable portion of respondents just say, ‘I don’t know enough about him,’ or ‘I don’t pay attention to him,'” according to Patrick Murray, the poll director at Monmouth University. Consequently, he cannot draw upon a sizable underlying support system. “.

However, Menendez has amassed decades’ worth of political connections, chiefly in Hudson County, his home base in the state’s urban core and one of the most Democratic-voting counties.

In September, New Jerseyans will be watching to see where the Democratic and Republican nominees stand, Murray said. “What percentage does he need to make this interesting? We don’t know and we won’t know until we get into September,” Murray said. Menendez being a spoiler is unlikely right now, but things could change in the fall. “.

Fundraising for Menendez has stopped, and he is rapidly running out of campaign money to pay his attorneys. “I’m withholding judgment on this whole thing until August 16th,” Murray stated, adding that there’s “always the possibility” that a Republican super PAC could interfere in the election to hurt Democrats by supporting Menendez. “.

Cory Booker, Menendez’s longtime Senate colleague and one of his most devoted allies during the 2017 corruption case that resulted in a mistrial, declined to speculate about the senior senator taking on the role of senior spoiler.

“Considering everything that’s going on right now, I believe making predictions about the future is just foolish. After the trial, we won’t truly know,” Booker said to POLITICO on Tuesday.

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