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New Jersey first lady Tammy Murphy suspends run for U.S. Senate

New Jersey first lady Tammy Murphy drops out of Senate race
New Jersey first lady Tammy Murphy drops out of Senate race 01:17

New Jersey first lady Tammy Murphy on Sunday suspended her run for U.S. Senate, days after embattled Sen. Bob Menendez announced he would not be running as a Democrat

Murphy made the announcement on X.

"I have been genuine and factual throughout, but it is clear to me that continuing in this race will involve waging a very divisive and negative campaign, which I am not willing to do," Murphy said.  

Murphy threw her hat into the ring in November to replace embattled Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez, who announced Thursday that he would not be seeking the nomination as a Democrat while he battles federal corruption charges. But he left the door open to running as an independent, saying "hopeful that my exoneration will take place this summer and allow me to pursue my candidacy." 

Murphy dropping out of the race clears the path for Rep. Andy Kim to win the Democratic nomination during New Jersey's June 4 Democratic primary. Kim was first elected to the House in 2018. He responded to Murphy's announcement in a Sunday night post on social media.

"Let us also show our respect and appreciation to First Lady Tammy Murphy for her continued service to our state and country," Kim wrote. "It's important to take a step back and remember that we are all a part of something bigger than all of us. We are here at this moment today because of the extraordinary grassroots movement growing in NJ."

Talking to reporters after the announcement, Kim said that he was going to "continue on with the process that we've been running in terms of just making sure we can fix our democracy right here in New Jersey and make it better."

While Murphy did not directly address Kim or Menendez during her announcement, she did offer up a message for the state's next senator.

"New Jersey's next senator must focus on the issues of our time and not be mired in tearing others down while dividing the people of our party and state," Murphy said. "I'm making this decision because this campaign has never been about me. And right now, I know the best thing we can do for New Jersey is to unite and focus on the real issues at hand."

New Jersey's other seat in the Senate, held by Democrat Cory Booker, is not up for election this year.

With her race for Senate over, Murphy said she'll be using her time to focus on getting President Biden reelected and ensuring victories for Democrats in New Jersey, as Democrats across the U.S compete to maintain control of the Senate.

"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 said.

The Republican primary for the Senate seat is set for June 4, but it's rare for one of New Jersey's Senate seats to be occupied by a Republican. The last Republican elected to represent New Jersey in the Senate was Clifford P. Case, with two others briefly representing New Jersey as appointees. Case held office for several terms and was last reelected in 1972.

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