Living Life Above the Kim


Andy Kim officially kicked off his campaign for the U.S. Senate last week at a bar in Pennsauken.

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.

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11 responses to “Living Life Above the Kim”

  1. Any Kim is finished! When the money flows from the Murphys to the county chairs, she’ll get 90% of their endorsements and win 90% of the conventions! It worked for Phil, he cleared the field of primary challengers! It will work for Tammy!

  2. I’ve met Tammy Murphy, and she’s wonderful. I can’t imagine she’d even want to enter electoral politics like this, and certainly don’t think she should. Andy Kim, please masterfully beat Menendez so he can move to his cell knowing he’s in every way a loser.

  3. I hope this will not be the case, but Reality is powerful. Actually Kim looks pretty good to me and I feel I could vote for him.

  4. I’ve met Andy Kim on a couple of occasions. He has always been willing to take the time to talk with his constituents.
    Tammy Murphy on the other hand has not been so accessible. I’ve tried to speak with her at events and have reached out to her in n other ways to no avail.
    She has been billed as a great supporter of the environment but from what I can gather is simply good at fundraising. Neither she nor her husband are willing to defy the fossil fuel industry.

  5. We shouldn’t have to put up with corruption and nepotism. The NJ Democratic party gave us Menendez in 2018 (and before) by putting him on the County Line in the primary, which gives candidates on average a 35 percentage point boost and pressures all other viable candidates to drop out to preserve their political future. Props to Kim for having the courage to get in, stay in, and give voters a real choice! The Line only works because people vote for it. If you’re not happy with NJ politics, get out and start campaigning for Kim now. The opposite of democracy is apathy.

  6. Andy Kim is one of the most focused, involved, intelligent, and accessible representatives in NJ. He is BELOVED by his constituents. Tammy Murphy would be a fool to try to run against him. Her campaign would have to constantly deal with accusations of using privilege, power, and party favors to gain a nomination. It is inconceivable that someone focused on helping the citizens of NJ would be so blind to how corrupt her candidacy looks.

  7. At a time when we are working to replace a corrupt Senator, the corrupt process of trading of favors to get Mrs, Murphy the party line doesn’t pass the smell test. Everything Mrs. Murphy has achieved is due to money or the influence of her husband. Congressman Kim has the deep experience, track record of public service, and impeccable integrity that make him the ideal candidate to challenge Senator Menendez. And Andy Kim has demonstrated that he can win tough elections : he has twice won in a district that Trump won, demonstrating his ability to appeal across party lines. As a grassroots activist and Democratic committee person, I guarantee that Mrs. Murphy will find real backlash if she pursues this ego project. And she may well lose the Senate seat for us.

  8. The upcoming US Senate race in NJ affords an opportunity to elevate one of the most engaged and effective public servants in recent memory: Congressman Andy Kim. Any constituent (including me) who has contacted his office knows he and his team will help them when all else fails. Who has been having monthly town halls where he listens to our questions? Andy Kim. Who answers every one of our emails? Andy Kim? Who has connected us to both state and federal services when all else has failed? Andy Kim. Who was been running around during COVID getting the shots to the neediest and the PPE to health care providers? Andy Kim and his staff. Who worked through the botched New Jersey state COVID vaccination roll out effort to get seniors and the disabled their shots? Andy Kim. And who stuck around the US Capitol Building after the Jan 6th riot to physically help clean up the mess? Andy Kim.
    Yes, Governor Murphy and his wife have had their favorite causes and engagements. But, in my personal experience, the Murphys don’t answer the mail. They have had no town halls that I’m aware of. And they’ve not shown up in my town for anything but a photoshoot. Many folks I worked with who have been in need of state services have never heard back from the Governor’s office. That’s why those of us in his District have been reaching out to Andy Kim instead, and have been getting the help we need.
    To be honest, this history of who has engaged and who has not led me to be both surprised and upset to learn that the Democratic Party Machine is pushing for the election of Governor Murphy’s inexperienced wife and not our very experienced and effective Congressman Andy Kim. Oh, but they say that Mrs. Murphy was the Governor’s Communications Director. My question is: given the Governor’s low polling numbers, and his often felt absence from our New Jerseyan daily lives, how effective has she been in that role?
    There are other Congressman Andy Kim accomplishments that voters should take note of: the award the Governor gave him for his work with our veterans; the endorsement from the police for his practical commitment to public safety; and the endorsement from the US Chamber of Commerce for his commitment to small businesses.
    In a dark sense, Congressman Kim’s commitment to transparent public servant funding may be what’s working against him. As a champion of bill H.R. 1 and campaign finance reform, he’s a threat to all those in state government and the political machine who thrive on pay-to-play politician access.

  9. I first met Andy in 2017. He was incensed Tom MacArthur was on board to gut the Affordable Care Act and felt South Jersey’s Congressional District 3 (CD3) deserved better representation. His sincerity and integrity was so evident that a grassroots effort formed in red Ocean County helped get him elected in 2018 and re-elected in 2020. In 2022, Ocean County was split between CD2 and CD4, and Andy was no longer our rep. When Senator Menendez was indicted (again), I was proud that Andy decided to throw his hat in the ring to become NJ’s Senator. He didn’t wait to announce or “ask permission” from NJ power brokers, he just jumped in immediately because it was the right thing to do. He wanted to offer NJ voters an alternative. He believes (and I concur) the office needs dedication and integrity, and Andy has an abundance of both.

  10. My vote and support, both “boots on the ground” and financial, are for Andy Kim. I have already made a contribution and become a monthly donor. He is a most worthy public servant, with the highest satisfaction of his constituent services. I live in Congressional District 3, and upon Redistricting, was elated to find that I would represented by Andy Kim. Unlike Chris Smith, he actually lives in New Jersey, with his family. Andy and his staff are approachable and highly responsive to our community. I look forward to voting for him yet again, in the primary; he is clearly the most qualified.

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