Kim, Dem Chairs Huddle, as a Federal Judge Readies His Gavel

A lot contributed to the Tammy Murphy Campaign meltdown, and people talk about it now, just a few hours removed from the gurgling end, as though any one factor caused that single, shocking flat tire that ran the sedan off the road and into the (no pun intended) swamp.

It was $15 million or $20 million that Tammy Murphy had to contribute. It was the momentum generated by her rival Andy Kim, and the embarrassment suffered by chairs who went up there in front of their people, who didn’t want to back the candidate they had to back. It was the arrogance of Murphy’s inner circle. It was the campaign, one source said, describing it as “the worst campaign I ever saw.” It was the candidate. She lacked the common touch. Or so they said. She was – until recently- a registered Republican, seeking the Democratic nomination. It was the internal polling. Awful. Petition signature struggles. It was the coming court case, to be decided, evidently, in favor of Kim, not Murphy, in favor of the people, not the lines, or so said insiders at a Sunday breakfast meeting.

That last one cut deep, probably because it connected to the core piece – the core problem – at the outset, which revolved around public outrage over the obscenity allegedly committed by the state’s sitting senior U.S. Senator, and the establishment’s solution to the coming vacancy. That remedy required the county chairs to back the First Lady for the seat in question, presumably in exchange for Governor Phil Murphy’s attention – and political affection – come budget time. Two budgets left.

What’s the U.S. Senate, after all?

On the heels of Menendez, who prior to his own lurid slide-down had incidentally secured the congressional seat he used to sit in for his son, Murphy wanted the same privilege for his own family member. Menendez got that congressional seat for his son, now Murphy would get the senate seat for his wife. And he could get it done because he’s constitutionally the most powerful governor in the country, and the party lines would hold up to any public pushback in a Democratic Primary, a presidential year, no less, no problem.

Even before anyone in the establishment put out a public statement about Menendez, Kim jumped at the chance to run statewide. When everyone else blinked, he immediately ignited into a pillar of fire, and people tired of the same game saw it and celebrated. They had a champion.

The system that produced Menendez, also produced Jon Corzine, and Murphy, and now Tammy Murphy, and not that they’re all the same, because they’re not, not by a long shot, but what the party response confirmed was that the public franchise in New Jersey was more about money than people, whether allegedly illicit in the case of Menendez, or supposedly above board in the case of the Wall Street people who came “to serve.” Kim didn’t really talk about issues when he campaigned. Not really. He talked about his kids. Family. Opportunities. Apathy. It was so basic it offended anyone curious about language by virtue of sheer vapidity. And yet – it connected because Kim suddenly defied a system all too cocooned, all too cozy, all too merely conditioned by money, and all too rampantly nepotistic. It didn’t matter what he said. He had good timing, and some guts. In this environment, that said a lot.

He supposedly hopped on a call with the county chairs on Sunday and said he would work with them.

They would work with him.

They didn’t need to be enemies, after all, so said the sources alert to the communications between the sides coming together. Time to defeat Donald Trump, not one another. Even with the federal case unresolved, the congressman had apparently proved his point and would return to line-friendly Andy, the one who ran with organizational backing in his congressional runs, as opposed to legal challenging Andy. Oh, he was still challenging. But that didn’t mean he planned to reject the lines he challenged. This was politics – imprecise, and usually imperfect – even sometimes ridiculous – in its alignment of power, money, and passion. Humiliated by the Tammy Murphy candidacy, exposed, but maintaining the stiff upper lips of a ruling minority – these are the mild, necessary indignities suffered in the name of patronage, dear chap – the chairs prepared to mobilize behind Kim, even as the lawsuit – with other plaintiffs attached, didn’t disappear, creating a kind of cross-pollination with the details of new ballot dimensions still awaiting the dropping of a judge’s gavel. The chairs won, or as one establishment source harrumphed, “case for the moment moot,” even as Don Quixote, what one of his followers called Kim, tore the top off a sinister windmill, no small feat amid, yes, such profuse apathy, and destructive passions. For now, the Tammy Murphy Campaign would have to suffice as a party sacrifice, the crumpled roadster in the rearview. Two more years on the clock wasn’t much, after all, or so they hoped. They had sold the unsellable to party members in this climate, what amounted to an awful inconvenience of expended political capital for a crackup, and the governor had to appreciate that, didn’t he, they asked, come budget time?

An email landed in a Sunday inbox like an early Easter Egg rolled out of somewhere in cyberspace.

It was from the governor’s office, concerning his Monday itinerary:

“No Public Schedule.”


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5 responses to “Kim, Dem Chairs Huddle, as a Federal Judge Readies His Gavel”

  1. The statement “Kim didn’t really talk about the issues when he campaigned” is a blatant lie. I’ve been to many of the Congressman’s campaign events, and he has been consistent and precise on his approach to health care for all, the environment, the scourge of gun violence, and other issues. Sure, he talks about his family. But that’s part of the issues too. The son of immigrants, he relates how his parents lived the American dream – immigrating from South Korea and how his polio-stricken father earned a PhD in genetics and how his mother became a nurse. At his town halls, Congressman Kim gives the MAGA attendees the opportunity to ask questions (where, to their credit, echo the Congresman’s approach to a civil conversation) and always striving to find common ground whenever possible and agree to disagree when necessary.

  2. He may not have won without the line…..picture this scenario: a primary season with no line……(flash forward 20 years) there is an open Senate seat and 10 candidates enters the race. One of the candidates is the governors wife. She probably clears the field, doesn’t have to get the line anywhere or worry about organizing anyone in the Party. She just gets to use the governors bully pulpit and raise money and wait until.
    It might have happened this year, but it had to go to conventions and the Party faithful were engaged.

  3. Elimination of the Equal Time Rule in broadcast has been a shame and a loss. The author has, again, skirted the rule (that does not directly apply to print but competes for eyeballs). Too bad much of the US media are beholden to media prostitutes.

    Let me know the next time Congressman Kim has a group of goons blocking entrance to one of his Town Halls.

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