In a social media post typical for such events, Kim spoke of “unstoppable excitement.” He added:
“People are ready for change. They are hungry for new leadership. The energy filled me with hope. I believe. We can win! We will win!”
All well and good, but in looking at the still developing race – the primary is six months-plus away – the pressing question is not about Kim, or for that matter, whether the indicted Bob Menendez will actually run again..
It’s about Tammy Murphy.
Will rank and file Democrats accept the First Lady as the party’s best candidate for the Senate?
Murphy, of course, has not declared her candidacy, but she already has a supporter – outgoing Senator and former governor Richard Codey.
In a statement last week, Codey said the First Lady was a “qualified, deserving and driven” person. He added:
“She has been called a co-governor since her husband, Phil, was elected six years ago. It’s a term she often has rejected, but the reality is this: Tammy Murphy showed up in Trenton from Day One and continues to be a presence and a force in this administration. She spends more time in Trenton than some of the people who were elected and paid to be there.”
That is laying it on a little thick, don’t you think?
In truth, there is no such thing as a “co-governor,” nor should there be. Voters elect an individual to be governor, not a couple.
Codey’s statement, however, suggests that Murphy may indeed have a lot of establishment support, which is critical in a primary.
Then again, people still have to vote.
Or in other words, the power brokers do not always win.
To understand that, we must recount an episode involving the aforementioned Codey.
Codey ran in last June’s LD-27 primary, but then said he was dropping out of the race.
What originally happened next was politics at its “best.”
The plan was for Assemblyman John McKeon to replace Codey as Senator..
McKeon, in turn, would be replaced by Brendan Gill. But wait – already on the ticket as the district’s other Assembly candidate was Gill’s wife, Alixon Collazos.
So, how could you have a husband and wife on the same Assembly ticket?
That would look bad, even in New Jersey. So the plan was for Collazos to drop out and be replaced by another candidate.
All this did not sit well with the party’s rank and file. Here was a woman being jettisoned from the ticket in favor of her husband.
Ultimately, this deal could not hold up. In the end, Gill dropped out of a race he was never officially in and Collazos was back on the ticket. She won easily last week.
The Tammy Murphy situation is not identical to this, but it’s not overly different.
The Dems’ original plan in LD-27 was sleazy politics; the current idea would be nepotism.
It is understood that both parties practice nepotism on all levels, but that hardly makes it palatable – or right.
Let’s assume Murphy does indeed get into the race. No matter what established leaders like Codey and his ilk may say, will the people who vote in primaries simply go along?
There was a time when they would.
But in some ways, the Democratic base has changed. It is more affluent and educated than it was a generation or so ago, and, judging from what we saw in LD-27, less likely to accept the dictates of party bosses.
Andy Kim, at least, has to hope so.