March 24, 2024

ICYMI - New Jersey Voters See Andy Kim’s Grassroots Momentum in National, Local News

MOORESTOWN N.J. – This weekend, less than 30 days before vote-by-mail ballots will be sent to voters in New Jersey, people across the state saw one clear message from national and local news outlets: Andy Kim is the candidate with the grassroots momentum, and the strongest candidate in the final 10 weeks of the Democratic primary for U.S. Senate.

Aside from yesterday’s appearance on MSNBC, highlights from media coverage this weekend includes:

Washington Post: In New Jersey, an insurgent upends a Democratic machine

Kim, 41, has turned the Senate race into something bigger than just a fight over who should replace the state’s senior senator, Bob Menendez (D), who faces a felony corruption trial later this year and is mulling running as an independent. Now Kim is trying to fight against the system of these county party chiefs, both through running to defeat their handpicked candidate, Murphy, and by battling in court to try to outlaw the “line” system.

“It’s more of a movement to try to restore power back to the citizen, to the voters, to the people. And that appeals to a wide swath,” Kim said.

Daily Beast: NJ Underdog Turning the Tide In Battle for Sen. Menendez’s Seat

When New Jersey First Lady Tammy Murphy announced her candidacy to replace disgraced Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) in November, a David-versus-Goliath narrative about the race quickly took hold in the state’s political circles and in media coverage.

Murphy, the wealthy and well-connected wife of two-term New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D), personified the state’s powerful party establishment. The governor has a record of pouring millions into his own campaigns, she had relationships with the state’s influential party bosses, and most of New Jersey’s top Democrats quickly pledged their allegiance to Murphy.

Despite impressive initial fundraising and polling numbers, Kim barely stood a chance—or so the conventional wisdom held.

With the June primary election drawing closer, Kim is now telling a different story. He is fighting Murphy on her turf—insider-dominated county party conventions—and coming away with endorsements. He has converted Murphy supporters into Kim supporters, like Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop.

CNN: How Donald Trump, Joe Biden and grassroots liberals could upend Democratic politics in one of the country’s bluest states

Murphy’s decision to seek the seat, and the speed with which local pooh-bahs lined up behind her, triggered what could be a generational realignment in a state historically dominated by powerful party bosses in the way that many Americans associate with a bygone era – recalling New York’s Tammany Hall of the mid-19th century…

…But the explosion of grassroots liberal engagement following Trump’s election – a shock to the system that ignited a wave of new interest that echoed the post-Watergate push for good government laws – emboldened “line” opponents…

…Frustrated, anxious and angry, the Democratic grassroots across the country revolted at every level of government, mixing intense lobbying of federal lawmakers with a surge in outsider candidacies for down-ballot offices. Groups such as Indivisible, with its hyper-engaged local chapters – many stocked with middle-aged, upper-middle-class, first-time political activists – began to question everything from party strategy to the arcane institutional processes that had operated for so long with a minimum of oversight.

ABC 6 (Philadelphia) Inside Politics: Full Show Here (Clip starts on 18:00)


Let's look at the numbers. In Atlantic City County, he won 156 to 54. He took 74% of the vote. He's won in Burlington, Ocean. Mercer, Monmouth, those counties, which makes sense because they're Central and South Jersey. But he's also won in Hunterdon, Sussex and Warren up in the North. Could a rout be coming here?

Commentator 1

I think it's coming because the thing that I remember about Andy Kim, and I think most of America remembers is, he was on his knees on the Capitol floor cleaning up, cleaning up after that terrible day in Washington that none of us will forget. His authenticity, I think, really is going to carry the day. I think it's going to be rout.

Commentator 2

And there's been a wide scale rejection among the grassroots Democratic primary voters for the way that Tammy Murphy was presented to them; this is the first lady she's going to be the next senator. Kind of almost as an afterthought. I think the electorate has come to say we have a choice in this and we're choosing.

News 12 New Jersey Power & Politics: Full Show Here (Clip starts on 4:37)

Micah Rasmussen

Well, [Jersey City is] the biggest town, biggest municipality in the state. He's also got the Hoboken Dems who came out for him this week. So to the extent that even he's able to cut into Tammy Murphy's margin in Hudson County, that can be a big deal. By itself, does one endorsement kind of matter? No, but it reinforces that whole momentum argument that you have or you don't have.

Star Ledger (Opinion): The Democratic Party bosses probably should have thought this whole Tammy Murphy thing through

The party bosses thought they could rubber stamp the candidate of their choosing and people would pull the lever, and why wouldn’t they? That’s how it’s always been done, but they didn’t count on Andy Kim. There’s very little enthusiasm for a Murphy family dynasty and people are seemingly excited to vote for Andy Kim. He’s won every county vote where the ballot was private, usually by wide margins.

Star Ledger (Opinion): The bullies in Camden, and the rot in the Democratic Party

Kim won with a staggering 85 percent of the vote in Morris. He got a standing ovation before he even took the stage, and another one after he spoke. The contrast between Camden and Morris tells us two things. One is that Kim is the far stronger candidate to face a Republican in the fall. In every county that plays fair, he has crushed Murphy to dust.

Politico: The future of New Jersey politics is on the line

It was all unthinkable six months ago.

The Menendez indictment landed — with its claims of favors exchanged for gifts, wads of cash and gold bars — and touched off a scramble for his seat among fellow Democrats. Three-term Rep. Andy Kim immediately jumped into the primary. New Jersey first lady Tammy Murphy followed. Then all hell broke loose.

Grassroots Democrats revolted against Murphy and the state’s party boss system. Kim effectively took the party establishment to court. The state attorney general, one of Gov. Phil Murphy’s longtime closest allies, shockingly denounced the very political system that Tammy Murphy is pinning her Senate hopes on. And now New Jersey’s legislative leaders say they may overhaul the unusual ballot system that’s given a handful of local leaders the power to sway elections.