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New Jersey first lady weighs run for Menendez’ seat

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(The Center Square) — New Jersey First Lady Tammy Murphy is considering a run for the U.S. Senate seat held by Democrat Bob Menendez, who is facing federal bribery charges, according to news reports.

Murphy, a businesswoman and the wife of Gov. Phil Murphy is expected to file paperwork this week with the Federal Election Commission to raise money and test the waters for a campaign to seek the Democratic Party’s nomination next year, the New Jersey Globe reported.

The news outlet reported that Murphy has been speaking with prospective donors and party leaders and staffing up in anticipation of a campaign for the Senate seat.

Murphy, 58, is a formidable fundraiser, having served as her husband’s finance chair and raising money for the Democratic Governors Association and other candidates, the New Jersey Globe reported.

Menendez is facing a growing number of 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 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.

Menendez is up for reelection in November 2024. So far, the only declared Democratic candidates include U.S. Rep. Andy Kim and real estate investor Kyle Jasey. Several state lawmakers have expressed interest in running for the seat, according to reports.

Several Republicans, including Mendham Borough Mayor Christine Serrano Glassner, have declared their intentions to run for the seat.

A recent poll shows a majority of New Jersey voters want Menendez to resign amid the bribery allegations.

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