This early triumph for the third-term congressman against Murphy in Monmouth County is noteworthy as both continue their campaign to secure the Democratic nomination in the race to succeed the beleaguered veteran Senator Bob Menendez, also a Democrat from New Jersey.
Kim, speaking about his victory in Monmouth County, where the Murphys have resided for over two decades, stated, "If we can win here, where they’ve lived for decades here, I think it sends a very strong message across all of the counties." The New York Times reports that Kim represents a portion of Monmouth County in Congress, the same county where the influential Murphy couple has lived for approximately 25 years.
Following his victory, Kim emphasized the authenticity of his campaign's momentum, stating, "The energy that we have is real, and it should not be underestimated." His win in Monmouth County ensures his name will appear alongside other county-endorsed Democratic candidates on the ballot, enhancing his legitimacy in the eyes of voters.
According to Politico, Kim garnered 56.8% of the votes, while Murphy secured 38.8%. Progressive labor activist Patricia Campos-Medina received 4.2% of the votes. This translated to a 265-181 victory for Kim in the convention, where a total of 466 votes were cast.
Despite Murphy's high-profile status, fundraising prowess, and early backing from county leaders in some of the state's most Democratic regions, she suffered defeat in Monmouth County. However, on the same day, she received an endorsement from the Passaic County Democrats.
Alex Altman, a spokesperson for Murphy, stated, "[Tammy Murphy] is thrilled by the groundswell of support she has received from faith leaders, community members, elected officials, unions, and now Passaic County." He added that Murphy congratulated Kim on his hard-fought victory and looks forward to building a strong coalition across the state and earning the support of New Jersey voters.
The race to replace Senator Menendez is shaping up to be a fierce contest primarily between Kim and Murphy, although other Democrats are also campaigning. Alex Zdan, a former news reporter for News 12 New Jersey, recently announced his candidacy as a Republican in the race.
Last month, Senator John Fetterman, a Democrat from Pennsylvania, endorsed Kim in his bid for the contested New Jersey Senate seat. Fetterman has been vocal in his calls for Menendez's removal from Congress following charges of bribery against Menendez, his wife, and business associates. Menendez and his co-defendants have pleaded not guilty, and despite losing support within his party in his home state, Menendez has resisted calls for his resignation.
The internal struggle within New Jersey's Democratic Party continues as members call for Menendez's removal and vie to succeed him. Meanwhile, Menendez has not yet announced whether he will seek re-election. Pennsylvania Governor Josh Shapiro has also entered the fray, raising funds for Murphy, according to her campaign.