Lose the Double Standard 

How many women has New Jersey elected to the United States Senate? Zero. None. ZILCH. That in itself should not come as a surprise. 

In fact, only two members of New Jersey’s current fourteen member Congressional delegation are women. And yet, on the very day the first female Democratic candidate threw her hat into the ring for the upcoming U.S. Senate election in New Jersey, 26 “liberal and progressive grassroots” organizations published an open letter attacking her candidacy and credentials. And even worse, most of these organizations are led by and have memberships largely composed of so-called feminist women. 

Before I go any further, let me be clear, this is not an endorsement of Ms. Tammy Murphy’s Senate candidacy. However, it is a push back against the criticisms leveled at her candidacy, which reek of misogyny and a very glaring double standard. The open letter claims that there is only one reason why powerful Democrats would endorse Ms. Murphy, saying – “Let’s be clear, if her name was Tammy Johnson, we would not be having this conversation. It is because Tammy Murphy is married to the Governor.” All the focus is on her last name. There is little mention of her work or her credentials. In fact, I would argue that Ms. Murphy has more policy experience than her husband did when he first ran for Governor.

No other first lady in New Jersey has taken on policy issues the way Ms. Murphy has over the last six years. When Governor Phil Murphy was first elected, New Jersey had one of the worst rates of Black maternal and infant mortality. Ms. Murphy chose to use her platform to raise awareness of the issue and worked with legislators to change health outcomes for this previously ignored segment. And contrary to the claims in this article that Ms. Murphy is only speaking about reproductive rights to increase airtime ahead of her campaign announcement, she has long been a staunch champion of abortion, speaking at the launch of the Reproductive Freedom Act in 2020

Ms. Murphy has not only worked on policies that affect women and children, she has also worked hard to get Democrats elected up and down the state.  In her time as First Lady of New Jersey, Ms. Murphy has crisscrossed the state, helping both organizations and candidates raise funds. She has headlined events for almost every Democratic hopeful running for office. The inherent assumption that any endorsements she receives are not on her own merit is offensive. Moreover, as the New York Times points out, there are four sitting members of Congress from New Jersey with connected family members – all of them male. They too benefitted from those relationships in their bid to get elected, and yet somehow Ms. Murphy’s candidacy is the only one that is deemed to be “a process that subverts democracy”? 

We have several qualified, announced candidates seeking the Democratic party’s nomination to be New Jersey’s next United States Senator. They will all be making their case to New Jersey voters. Progressives should be pushing for more female representation in Congress. Instead, they chose to single out a smart, hard-working woman for who she is married to. That is troubling. And it needed to be called out. 

Anjali Mehrotra is a fierce advocate for representation and gender parity in all walks of life but especially at all levels of elected office. She serves as a National Board member for National Organization for Women, on the state board for American Association of University Women of New Jersey and on the cabinet of Emerge New Jersey. All three organizations actively work to increase the number of women in Congress.

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12 responses to “Lose the Double Standard ”

  1. It is disingenuous to say that gender is more important than ethics in any situation, but especially in politics. Miss me with this nonsense.

  2. First of all, Anjali Mehrotra is a “progressive”. This is a buzz word for Socialist or Communist. She’s a card carrying member of the National Board of the National Organization for Women (N.O.W.) which is a professed Socialist-Communist racketeering organization in the same mold as Black Lives Matter (B.L.M.).

    Mehrotra says we need to be pushing more “progressive” women for Congress. No we don’t!!!! We already have so-called “progressive” pro-Communist and pro-Nazi women in Congress, e.g., Rashida Tlaib, AOC, Ilhan Omar, Ayana Pressley, Cory Bush, etc., who are anti-semitic Jew Haters, avowed Communists bent on destroying the United States with their communist agenda, and many who are criminals (Congresswoman Maxine Waters who called for riots and rebellion during the George Floyd debacle (which now turns out that evidence to exonerate the police, including officer Derek Chauvin, was concealed by the prosecution).

  3. The first part of this sentence is true: “No other first lady in New Jersey has…” but I would complete it with: “Run for office when her husband is governor for two more years.” Nepotism is a form of corruption. This is, as Ross Baker put it, “nepotism on stilts.” It isn’t about gender, and it’s insulting to frame this election this way. The election is about ending corruption in NJ elections. Phil and Tammy Murphy are trying to buy this office. I’ll be supporting the stronger candidate for this seat: Andy Kim.

  4. Pretty much every contract, every road project, every line item in the state budget ( including the hundreds of millions that got added 15 minutes before the budget is due) every appointed office statewide from dog catcher to judge runs thought the governors office in NJ.

    No one is suggesting Mrs Murphy should not be allowed to run. Some are questioning the full court press statewide for her coronation in November from party bosses ( who certainly understand the first paragraph) – to make her nomination a fait acompli and pressure Andy Kim to drop out so, yet again, NJ doesn’t even have a competitive primary vote by actual voters and the decision is made by bosses.

  5. There were a lot of complaints by these same progressive about every single male Congressman who was given a seat via the county chairs and the line because of a relative. Every. Single. One.

    We complained about Donald Payne Jr. We complained about Rob Menendez, Jr.. We complained about Donald Norcross. We complained about Tom Kean, Jr.

    We have been pointing out that New Jersey has a terrible nepotism problem for a long time. We’ve been pointing out that we don’t get the most qualified candidates, but rather, the most connected ones.

    I’m not sure why Ms. Mehrotra didn’t notice then, or why she doesn’t mention it now.

    What New Jersey voters deserves is a chance to decide for themselves instead of having a small group of (mostly) men decide for us through the use of the line.

    And surely, as a National Board Member of NOW, she supports the idea that voters should have a say in their own representation. The line has never been fair to women. It has never been fair to people of color. It has always been a tool for those with power to stay in power.

  6. The issue is that Tammy Murphy supports the system that has caused NJ’s congressional delegation to be an atrocious 14% female: the County Line. The overwhelmingly male county chairs pick who gets favorable placement on the ballot, giving their candidates up to a 35 percentage point boost and driving other candidates out of the race. Tammy Murphy becoming senator because her husband uses the political power of the governorship to get her The Line does nothing to fix the real barriers holding women back from winning office. As the main beneficiary of The Line, Tammy Murphy is uniquely positioned to demand that the county chairs stop manipulating the ballot and instead group candidates by office in random order. As long as she refuses to do that, she’s not supporting women gaining power.

  7. Thank you to everyone who pointed out the corruption and inequity of the NJ party line system. When your husband has the power to provide party favors to gain you a senate seat, misogyny is not the reason for an outcry. This letter is disingenuous and absurd.

  8. Isn’t it the responsibility of the County Committee Chairs to hold a Spring Convention for County Committee members to vote on and endorse the candidates who will be on the Primary ballot in June? That is how it is supposed to work. We are elected to our County Committee seats for that purpose (among other duties we have).
    For those not liking the “Party Line” rule, that needs to be changed in the NJ Election Laws.

  9. This entire letter is based on a ridiculously foolish premise. If Ms Murphy is so qualified, then she should welcome a Fair Ballot. If she has credentials and talent she should not be threatened by those supporting Congressman Andy Kim.

    I have been represented by Congressman Kim for the 3 terms he has served in Congress. I know his work, know how I personally have benefitted from his policies and legislation. I support him because he is outstanding.

    Because I believe in gender equality I can evaluate candidates on their skills alone. I do NOT have to support a woman because we share gender. That is absurd.

    congressman Andy Kim is a focused , committed, beloved public servant. That is why he has my support and Ms Murphy does not.

  10. So far Tammy’s qualifications are “raised awareness” of maternal and infant mortality and another article said “good fundraiser.” This is a US Senate seat, not a committee chair.
    Let’s make something clear – if we do not elect Andy Kim for Senator, we LOSE HIM completely. Many people mistakenly believe that he can remain in Congress. Under federal law he cannot. He is one of the best public servants in all of Congress. With the crises our nation faces, we need to have a Senator with international and diplomatic experience. VOTE ANDY KIM in the NJ primary (you’ll have to look for it on the ballot).

  11. As a concerned woman I am always interested in elected the candidate who I believe shares my values, which include honesty and integrity . If that candidate is a woman that’s wonderful . If that candidate runs on the coattails of her husband – and she chooses to run against a candidate with the credentials and decency of my Congressman Andy Kim , I do not believe she deserves anything but my contempt . I respect a fair primary election – on my opinion this is not one. As a lifelong Democrat I fear that we may lose our seat to a Republican if the governors wife is our candidate

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