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Tammy Murphy, wife of New Jersey governor, drops out of U.S. Senate race

New Jersey first lady Tammy Murphy has dropped out of the Democratic primary for the U.S. Senate in the race for the seat of Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), upending the state’s party machine that had lined up behind her.

Murphy’s exit from the race leaves Rep. Andy Kim (D-N.J.), who has been surging in recent polls, as the overwhelming favorite for the nomination in the heavily Democratic state’s June 4 primary.

Murphy, wife of New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D), made the announcement in a video shared on X on Sunday.

“After many busy, invigorating and, yes, challenging months, I am suspending my Senate campaign today,” she said in the video.

Murphy, a financier who formerly worked for Goldman Sachs, was in a competitive primary race against a number of Democrats, including Kim. She has never held elected office but has maintained a portfolio as first lady since 2018.

In a statement, Kim said he respected Murphy’s decision and looked forward to working with her and the governor. “Tammy and I both agree that it is critical that we keep this seat, and the Senate, in Democratic control,” he said. “Unity is vital.”

Last week, Menendez announced that he will not run as a Democrat in the race, but he did not rule out running as an independent. He had faced political challenges since he was charged in September with bribery and other crimes while serving as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

According to the New Jersey Globe, which first reported the news, Murphy decided to end her bid Saturday after a discussion with her family and advisers.

Murphy grew up a Republican and had made large donations to George W. Bush’s presidential campaigns, but had earned the support of many establishment Democrats in a state where political bosses across 21 counties have long played an outsize role in statewide races.

In New Jersey’s unique and controversial “line” ballot system, Senate and gubernatorial candidates who are running with the endorsement of their party get placed in a specific portion of the ballot known as “the line.” Candidates running without their party’s endorsement, meanwhile, appear in a lower section of the ballot, where voters may be less likely to see their names.

Kim filed a lawsuit in February against the ballot system. Last week, New Jersey Attorney General Matthew Platkin’s office said that the system is “unconstitutional” and that his office would not defend it in court.

The lawsuit drew attention both to the state’s controversial ballot and to Murphy’s position as the establishment’s preferred candidate.

In the video announcing the end of her bid, Murphy alluded to the tension over the issue.

“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,” she said. “And 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.”

This post appeared first on The Washington Post

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