Tommy Murphy has dropped out of the race for Menendez's Senate seat

New Jersey First Lady Tammy Murphy announced Sunday that she has ended her run for the U.S. Senate seat currently held by veteran U.S. Senator Robert Menendez. In a video Posted on social media.

Ms. Murphy said she decided that continuing to run in the Democratic primary against Andy Kim, a third-term congressman from South Jersey, would lead to “a very divisive and negative campaign.”

He didn't want to do that, instead deciding to suspend his campaign and “focus entirely on re-electing President Biden” and other Democrats.

“I will not in good conscience tear down fellow Democrats and waste resources because Donald Trump is on the ballot and our nation is at great risk,” he said.

Governor Philip D. Mrs. Murphy, Murphy's wife, held a meeting with county Democratic leaders at 2 p.m. Sunday before making a final decision and notifying her campaign staff, an aide said.

Candidates planning to run in the June primary must submit petitions with at least 1,000 signatures by Monday's deadline. Ms Murphy's decision before that deadline meant her name would not appear on the primary ballot.

His ouster made Mr. New Jersey's next senator. Makes Kim likable. First Korean American member of the United States Senate.

“Tommy and I both agree that keeping this seat and the Senate under Democratic control is very important,” said the 41-year-old Mr. Kim said in a statement. “Unity is essential. We will continue our efforts to strengthen our democracy in New Jersey, while uniting against the dangerous agenda Trump has put forward.

Ms. Murphy, 58, entered the race in November and was immediately endorsed by a coalition of influential Democratic leaders, many of whom depend on the governor, whose term is two years away. His effort has led to relentless claims by critics of New Jersey's entrenched capitalist politics, the governor and first-time candidate running for office.

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In September Mr. A day after Menendez was accused of accepting bribes in gold, cash and Mercedes Benz in exchange for his political influence, Mr. Kim jumped into the race. Since then, Mr. Kim, for decades Mr. Ms. Murphy's campaign has successfully incorporated the same style of “broken politics” that nurtured and defended Menendez.

The first independent poll of the race showed Ms. Murphy leading Mr. Murphy by 12 percentage points. Other polls by campaigns and political organizations showed Ms. Murphy, who was registered to vote as a Republican until 10 years ago, trailing far behind.

Then, amid a high-profile primary race, Mr. Kim filed a lawsuit that directly challenged an essential element of the state's electoral system — a ballot system designed to benefit the favored candidates of local political leaders. This practice allows county leaders to field their preferred candidates in a single row or column for each office, a preferential ballot position called a “line” in New Jersey.

The so-called line is used to reward or punish, inspire confidence from candidates and make it difficult for unauthorized challengers to win.

Last week, after asking a federal judge to force the state to redraw the ballot starting June 4, Mr. Kim testified in court for more than an hour. Fueling the debate, the state's attorney general, Matthew J. Platkin announced a week ago that he considered the state's ballot system unconstitutional.

Judge Zahid N. of the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey. Qureshi said that in the coming weeks Mr. Kim is expected to rule on the request.

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Case and Mr. Platkin's reluctance to defend laws enabling the current ballot format shook New Jersey's politics to its core. Mr. Platkin was first lady and one of the governor's staunchest allies; He is Mr. Worked on Murphy's first campaign and served as the governor's top government attorney for several years before the governor nominated him to be attorney general.

Last week, Democratic and Republican legislative leaders said they were open to rethinking the ballot format, for the first time, to get their powers “from the line.” The move was seen as an attempt to prevent a court-ordered termination of the practice.

Ms. Murphy's path to victory depended heavily on the establishment support he received from Democratic leaders in the state's most populous urban districts, and the case directly undermined his campaign.

70 year old Mr. Menendez announced Thursday that he will not seek re-election as a Democrat in the June primary. However, he pleaded not guilty to all 16 charges he was facing. Menendez has left open the possibility of running as an independent in November — prompting fears among some Democratic leaders that he could rob the candidate of votes and give Republicans an advantage.

It's been 50 years since New Jersey elected a Republican senator, and Democrats outnumber Republicans in the state by nearly a million registered voters.

But Democrats hoping to retain their slim majority in the Senate have also indicated there is no room for error, something Ms Murphy appeared to concede in a three-minute video she released on Sunday.

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“As we face serious, dangerous threats at the national level, thanks to Donald Trump and far-right extremists,” he said, “this is a time to unite, not divide.”

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