It’s official: Tammy Murphy launches U.S. Senate campaign

In a move that has been expected since moments after U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez was indicted on Sept. 22, first lady Tammy Murphy formally announced her intention to replace Menendez in Washington, D.C.

Murphy made the announcement through a video that was released Wednesday morning.

Murphy, who has long been thought of as one of the strong voices helping to guide her husband, Gov. Phil Murphy, has done plenty to stand out on her own — from taking the lead on New Jersey’s maternal and infant mortality rate to advocating for more climate change education in the state’s K-12 schools.

On a recent economic mission trip to East Asia, the first lady’s diplomatic skills were on full display, too.

In announcing her intention, Murphy talked about some of the traditional Democratic/progressive issues, including protecting abortion rights and access to women’s health care and greater gun control measures.

“I’m running for the United States Senate because New Jersey’s kids and families deserve better — plain and simple,” Murphy said. “My parents taught me to never back down from a challenge or shy away from injustice, and that’s how we’ve dramatically reduced the rate at which mothers and babies are dying around childbirth in our state, and incorporated climate change education into our school curriculum.

“These weren’t small fights or simple problems to solve, but nothing worth doing ever is.”

Murphy is not the only declared candidate for Menendez’s seat. U.S. Rep. Andy Kim (D-3rd Dist.) also has announced his intentions and has begun to raise money. The first lady, through the many political contacts she and her husband have made over his terms as governor, may be able to build a bigger base in the state.

Then there’s this: Menendez (D-N.J.) only has been indicted. To this point, he not only has he not resigned — he has not said he will not seek another term. That being said, most feel his ability to get strong party support are over.