Tammy Murphy, the first lady of New Jersey and wife of Democrat Gov. Phil Murphy, officially joined the New Jersey Democratic Senate Primary on Wednesday, pitting her in a contest against incumbent Democrat Sen. Bob Menendez.
In a Wednesday campaign launch video, Mrs. Murphy emphasized initiatives she has overseen, as the first lady of New Jersey, to address maternal mortality and expand climate change curriculums in public schools in New Jersey. She also directed a jab at Mr. Menendez.
“Right now, Washington is filled with too many people more interested in getting rich or getting on camera than getting things done for you,” Mrs. Murphy said in a voice-over over footage of several Republican senators, but also Mr. Menendez.
Mrs. Murphy’s comment about people in Washington working to enrich themselves comes in the weeks after federal prosecutors charged Mr. Menendez with conspiracy to commit bribery, honest services fraud, extortion, and working as an unregistered agent of a foreign principal. Mr. Mendendez and his wife allegedly accepted hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash, gold, and payments toward a home mortgage, as part of this conspiracy.
According to federal charging documents, Mr. Menendez used his position of influence to “protect and enrich” three New Jersey businessmen, as well as the government of Egypt. Mr. Menendez, who serves as the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, allegedly helped facilitate new arms sales to the government of Egypt. Mr. Mendenz also allegedly contacted the U.S. Department of Agriculture to dissuade them from seeking to break up a monopoly controlled by one of the New Jersey businessmen, whose venture controlled the lucrative rights to certify halal food exports from Egypt.
Mr. Mendendez also allegedly intervened to stop a New Jersey state criminal investigation into one of the other New Jersey businessmen and recommended that President Joe Biden nominate someone as New Jersey’s U.S. attorney who Mr. Menendez believed he could more easily influence to upend the federal prosecution of another of the three New Jersey businessmen.
These charges represent the second time Mr. Mendendez has faced federal prosecution. He was indicted in 2015 for bribery, fraud, and making false statements for allegedly working to advance the personal and business interests of a Florida ophthalmologist named Salomon Melgen. After a 2017 mistrial, a judge acquitted Mr. Menendez of some of the charges and federal prosecutors dropped the rest. In 2018, a Senate Ethics Committee admonished Mr. Menendez for failing to follow senate rules and federal laws to disclose gifts he received from Mr. Melgen. Mr. Melgen, on the other hand, was convicted
Mr. Menendez has pled not guilty to the charges and denied the latest federal criminal allegations.
“The facts are not as presented. Prosecutors did that the last time and look what a trial demonstrates. People should remember that before accepting the prosecutor’s version,” Mr. Menendez said in September after prosecutors announced the first of his most recent criminal charges.
NTD News reached out to Mrs. Murphy’s campaign team for further comment on her campaign launch video and her decision to enter a primary challenge against Mr. Mendendez. Her campaign team did not respond by the time this article was published.
NTD News also reached out to Mr. Menendez’s 2024 Senate campaign for comment, but did not receive a response.
Primary Field Grows
Mrs. Murphy is now one of several Democrats challenging Mr. Mendendez for his Senate seat in 2024.
The incumbent Senator has faced several calls from fellow Democrats to resign within days of prosecutors announcing their charges. Rep. Andy Kim (D-N.J.), for example, was the first to launch a primary challenge and made the announcement just hours after the indictment against Mr. Menendez was announced.
Other Democrats who’ve launched bids to replace Mr. Menendez include Kyle Jasey, Larry Hamm, and Kevin Cupples. As a mother of four, Mrs. Murphy said this particular cause became important to her after her own experiences with childbirth.
“The money in our family’s bank account and, frankly, the color of my skin, meant I could get the best care available. But that’s not the case for a lot of women. So when I got here, I realized I had a platform to help moms who aren’t nearly as fortunate as I am,” Mrs. Murphy said. “In New Jersey, women and babies were dying at a higher rate than almost every other state in the country almost exclusively in our black and brown communities. So even though I knew this would be a tough fight, I got to work.”
Beyond improving maternal mortality, Mrs. Murphy said one of her other main focuses as the first lady of New Jersey has been addressing climate change,
“I’m really proud that New Jersey is now a safer place to give birth to a child, but we’ve also worked nonstop to make it a great place to raise a child. And that’s why combating climate change has been a focus of mine for decades. Because the environment our kids grow up in can be the difference in childhood asthma, cancer rates and so many other things,” she said. “It’s why, as first lady, I’ve led the charge to put climate on the curriculum in our schools, making New Jersey the first and only state in the nation to do so. Because teaching our kids about climate change can make a difference in their ability to succeed in our new green economy.”