Tammy and Phil Murphy were already out the back door of the Portuguese Club of Long Branch meeting hall when a long-time observer of state politics declared the events of the day a “bellwether.”
That seemed a polite way of saying it was a proverbial punch in the face for the first lady and the governor.
Not only did Andy Kim win the Monmouth Democratic convention by a healthy margin – 265 to 181- he did it in the Murphys’ home county.
Tammy Murphy, in fact, had stressed precisely that in her speech to a jam-packed room of Monmouth Dems.
She said she’s lived in the county for more than 20 years and raised her children there. Moreover, she has volunteered for many local charitable endeavors and is well familiar with local 5-K races. Not only that, if she gets to the Senate, she will not forget that Convention Hall in Asbury Park could use some financial help.
Her speech was certainly more energetic than some of the others she’s made during the campaign.
But you got the feeling she was reaching a bit with the hometown angle. After all, we’re running for the U.S. Senate here, not county commissioner.
The first lady previously has said a woman is better suited than a man to fight for such things as abortion rights. Today she proclaimed that the Senate needs “more ticked off moms.”
Rep. Frank Pallone addressed the convention as a Murphy supporter.
“I know for a lot of you, this is a hard choice,” the veteran congressman said. He offered three reasons why the convention should endorse Murphy.
She lives in the county.
The Senate needs more women.
She’s a progressive.
Elaborating, Pallone said Murphy will stand up to “special interests.”
That did seem a bit ironic.
The main criticism of the first lady is that she represents a special interest herself – a candidacy based on the political power and influence of her husband, the governor.
The Murphys were already gone when Kim spoke to reporters.
“We’re the campaign that has the momentum. We’re the campaign that has the energy,” he said.
On this day, no one was going to disagree.