(The Center Square) — Tammy Murphy, New Jersey’s first lady, is jumping into the race for a U.S. Senate seat held by Democrat Bob Menendez, who is facing federal bribery charges.
Murphy, a businesswoman and the wife of Gov. Phil Murphy, announced in a video message posted on social media that stressed her family-centered upbringing and highlighted her work as first lady to improve maternal health care in New Jersey and address climate change.
“I am so proud of everything we’ve accomplished, but I know there’s a lot more to do,” the Democrat said in the nearly four-minute clip. “Right now, Washington is filled with too many people more interested in getting rich or getting on camera than getting things done for you.”
Murphy is the second top New Jersey Democrat to dive into the Senate race in the wake of a federal indictment against Menendez, who hasn’t said if he is running for reelection.
In September, Rep. Andy Kim, D-N.J., announced his bid for the seat just one day after the indictments against Menendez were made public.
A recent poll of New Jersey voters suggested that Kim was the favorite in the race, with 42% of respondents saying they would vote for him compared to 19% for Murphy.
Only 5% said they would vote for Menendez, while another 35% said they were “not sure,” according to the survey by Public Policy Polling.
Several Republicans, including Mendham Borough Mayor Christine Serrano Glassner, have announced their intentions to run for the Senate seat.
Menendez is facing calls to step down after he and his wife, Nadine, were indicted on charges of accepting “hundreds of thousands of dollars” in bribes in exchange for using the senior senator’s political influence to benefit the Egyptian government and several business associates in New Jersey.
Federal prosecutors allege that Menendez has acted as a “foreign agent” for Egypt by shepherding billions in military aid that previously had been denied to the country over its record of human rights abuses. He has pleaded not guilty to the charges and has refused to step down.
Gov. Murphy was among the first Democrats to call for Menendez to resign. If he were to resign, Murphy would have to choose his successor to serve out his term, which expires Jan. 3, 2025. Murphy is term-limited and will step down from the governor’s office in January 2026.