In a stunning development that underscores unsettled political terrain, U.S. Rep. Andy Kim (D-3) of Burlington County today announced that he plans to challenge indicted Senator Bob Menendez.
Ravaged on Friday by bribery and fraud charges, Menendez appears unable to summon critical establishment support for his 2024 reelection campaign.
Middlesex, Essex, Bergen and Passaic all want him gone.
That leaves a few other undecided pockets, starting with his home county of Hudson, but the incumbent U.S. senator has long run with the fully mustered backing of all Democratic Party organizations.
Now, with the hobbled and wounded Menendez assuming a battle-ready position, Kim – in a throw down maneuver by a Democratic standing amid the ravages of South Jersey – released the following statement:
“After calls to resign, Senator Menendez said ‘I am not going anywhere.’ As a result, I feel compelled to run against him. This is not something I expected to do, but I believe New Jersey deserves better. We cannot jeopardize the Senate or compromise our country’s integrity. I believe it’s time we restore faith in our democracy, and that’s why I am stepping up and running for Senate.”
Kim was first elected to Congress in 2018 and is the first Asian American elected to federal office from New Jersey. In 2018 and 2020, he defeated two self-funding millionaires in a district carried by former President Trump, and in 2022 Kim defeated his third self-funding millionaire opponent by 12 points.
In his three terms in Congress, he noted that he has worked to deliver improved health care for veterans, relief for homeowners suffering from Superstorm Sandy, and has been a leader in strengthening congressional ethics and getting money and its corrupting influence out of politics.
Kim currently lives in Moorestown with his wife, Kammy, and their two sons, August and Austin.
It will be tough for Kim to muster critical North Jersey support, where bosses who have already turned their thumbs down on Menendez have other plans.
Sources say U.S. Rep. Josh Gottheimer and U.S. Rep. Mikie Sherrill are pawing at the statewide turf, and will receive critical North Jersey establishment backing toward senate and governor, probably respectively. Kim also has to be aware of the possible movement from out of his own region by U.S. Rep. Donald Norcross (D-1), long suspected of nursing statewide designs.
The Democrats lining up to run for Kim’s seat if he moves up?
Senator Troy Singleton
Assemblyman Wayne DeAngelo
Assemblywoman Carol Murphy
Lumberton Mayor Gina LaPlaca
Hamilton Mayor Jeff Martin