Diving into Andy Kim’s BurlCo Drubbing of Tammy Murphy

(Mount Laurel) — Today, Burlington County Democrats overwhelmingly chose Andy Kim as the Democratic candidate to replace disgraced US Senator Bob Menendez. Kim, a three-term Congressman from nearby Moorestown, defeated his closest rival, NJ First Lady Tammy Murphy in the county that knows him best.

The preliminary tally was 245 votes for Kim and 21 for Murphy, a blowout.

Two weeks ago, Kim also upended Murphy in Monmouth County, Murphy’s home turf. That means the country parties who know both candidates best both prefer Andy Kim.

The Democratic machine gatekeepers (like state chair LeRoy Jones) who favor Tammy Murphy should heed today’s resounding 90%-10% blowout as a message from the grassroots. They probably won’t.

Also today, Committee members chose Herb Conaway as their candidate in NJ’s 3rd Congressional District. That gives Andy Kim and Conaway the preferred spots on the ballot in Burlington, population 466,000. BurlCo is New Jersey’s largest county, size-wise.

Each candidate was given four minutes to speak.

Mr. Kim went first and was met with a rapturous standing ovation. He began by reminding BurlCo Dems of the progress they’ve made the past decade electing democrats to most county-wide positions.

“You took a chance on me, you worked with me,” Kim told the crowd. “And in that process, you made me a better person and public servant.”

The crowd roared their approval with another standing O.

Tammy Murphy went next and her inability to connect with the crowd was a stark contrast with Kim’s hometown reception. Her usual applause lines were met with a conspicuous silence.

Murphy offered canned bromides like “we need more ticked off moms in DC” and “healthcare is a right and not a privilege” which frankly felt threadbare. When today’s emcee, NJ Senator Troy Singleton, indicated Murphy’s time was up, the First Lady looked relieved.

Competing on someone else’s home turf ain’t easy, I’ll give her that much.

The Congressional candidates went next.

Herb Conaway and Carol Murphy (no relation to Tammy) are assembly running mates currently squaring off to fill the seat vacated by Kim’s run for US. Senate. Conaway’s line about abortion rights was well-received. Even by his opponents clapped.

Carol Murphy followed suit.

“They are there to cause havoc,” Carol Murphy told the crowd, citing the GOP majority.

She referred to “Senator Kim” in today’s biggest Freudian slip, a slip up she handled with humor and aplomb. Carol Murphy was less polished than Conaway but her comments felt more authentic. I could hear Mr. Conaway mumbling behind me when Carol Murphy noted her many bills that passed into laws.

When Carol Murphy’s time was up, she kept going for a while which was unfortunate because it sounded like she might have buried the best part. (Note to Carol: lead with the good stuff!)

A 3rd Congressional candidate, Sarah Schoengood, a Freehold resident, was the most well-received Congressional candidate of the day. She raised issues like the opioid crisis on a day no one else did. Her message was particularly well-received by younger committee members who nodded their approval during Ms. Schoengood’s remarks.

”This is the most important election in our lifetime,” Ms. Schoengood told InsiderNJ. “There’s a lot to fight for in Congress and we need a new generation of leadership to connect and mobilize.”

She’s not wrong.

“I want to speak with her,” a delegate said of Schoengood. “My kids are in their 20s and I want her to help them get involved.”

Singleton of Burlington
Senator Singleton

After speeches, the delegates went to a vote and Senator Troy Singleton had this to say about the notorious ballot design (aka The Line) that almost always determines the outcome of NJ elections before the voters even enter the picture:

“As much as I love my county committee members, we should have a process where the people will ultimately decide,” Singleton said. “We can still have a moniker next to any individual names to show that they are (the county committee’s) preferred candidate and I think that’s the direction we should go.”

When a powerful South Jersey politician wants to evolve away from “the line” to a more democratic prioress, that’s news.

And to this crowd, that’s mostly good news.


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5 responses to “Diving into Andy Kim’s BurlCo Drubbing of Tammy Murphy”

  1. Congressman Andy Kim is beloved by his constituents and they will ALWAYS support him. He won our loyalty because of his humility, desire to serve, respect given to all, he provides great constituent service, he is intelligent and committed to serving the needs of the residents of his district. There could be no finer candidate who could become the next Senator from the state of NJ.

  2. Congressman Kim has repeatedly demonstrated his commitment to his constituents, kept his promises and has kept the best interests of CD3 in mind when voting. He is smart, accessible and an authentic public servant. Residents of Burlington County have been so fortunate to have his representation over the last five years and we could not have a better candidate for US Senate than Congressman Andy Kim.

  3. My Congressional district (CD3) had been controlled by Republicans for 150 years (except for a single term (2-yr) Dem who won on Obama’s coattails in 2008) until Andy Kim ran for Congress. Andy is not your typical politician – he’s authentically himself: a Rhodes Scholarship-winning, guitar playing, bagel making, sometimes disheveled policy wonk who has spent his entire adult life giving back to the country that allowed his immigrant parents to thrive. Andy’s dedication to making our district and country a better, fairer, kinder place mobilized thousands of Dems to become grassroots activists. Bound-together and inspired by Andy, we won and then have held control of the all County Commissioner seats and the town councils of all our biggest towns. Andy is the type of representative the founding fathers hoped for – selfless, thoughtful, a nuanced thinker, commited to making his state and country a better, safer place for all to thrive. We need more leaders like Andy Kim in Congress and especially the Senate.

  4. What has to give the various bosses and the Murphy campaign pause is that Monmouth and Burlington don’t represent the votes of rank and file voters but rather the lower level elected officials , politically influential union reps and local committee people who organize the local get out the vote drive, distribute lawn signs, make sure Auntie Bess gets a ballot to mail in or gets a ride to the polls.
    Publicly most of them don’t want to broadcast they are bucking the bosses,but the secret ballot means they express their actual opinions.

    If this is true in these counties, how do those same level people vote for Senate in Middlesex or Essex or Camden when the ballot is secret?

  5. “Those who do not remember their past are condemned to repeat their mistakes.” Ditch the statement, “we need more ticked off moms in DC.” In the gender neutral environment that has been created, that statement carries no weight. Identifying as a tick off mom is not a qualification for the United State Senate.

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