Tammy Murphy ends campaign for U.S. Senate seat in stunning announcement

First lady Tammy Murphy announced Sunday afternoon in a social media post that she is suspending her campaign for U.S. Senate, a stunning announcement that has just begun to reverberate across the state.

Murphy, in a 3:10 p.m. video, gave numerous reasons why she ran and the issues the state (and country) face going forward, but was less clear about why she was dropping out of the race.

Her announcement makes U.S. Rep. Andy Kim (D-3rd Dist.) the front-runner for the Democratic nomination — and, thus, the front-runner to earn the seat currently held by Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.). A Republican has not won a U.S. Senate seat in New Jersey since 1972.

Murphy did not mention Kim by name in the video, saying only that it is time for the party to unite.

“After many busy, invigorating and, yes, challenging months, I am suspending my Senate campaign today,” she said. “I’ve been genuine and factual throughout. But, it is clear to me that continuing in this race will involve waging a very divisive and negative campaign, which I am not willing to do. And, with Donald Trump on the ballot, and so much at stake for our nation, I will not in good conscience waste resources tearing down a fellow Democrat.

“Instead of talking about process and politics, my campaign has been about solutions for families and a vision for the next generation. New Jersey’s next senator must focus on the issues of our time, and not being mired and tearing others down while dividing the people of our party and state. I’m making this decision because this campaign has never been about me. And, right now, I know the best thing we can do for New Jersey is to unite and focus on the real issues at hand.”

A spokesperson for the campaign said Murphy would not have a statement other than what was said in the video.

The announcement ends one of the most controversial races in recent New Jersey history.

Kim has led Murphy in every poll. That being said, the two were expected to be in a tight race — one that some felt could be determined by a lawsuit from Kim challenging the “county line” system that seemingly gives candidates preferred by the heads of the party in a county a strong edge.

Depending on the outcome of the court case, Murphy was set to get “the line” in the biggest and seemingly most important counties: Essex, Bergen, Hudson and Middlesex, among others.

The case, which was heard in U.S. District Court last Monday, has not yet had a decision from   District Court Judge Zahid Quraishi.

Murphy’s decision to drop out of the race does not mean the case goes away. Quraishi will rule — a decision that could have far greater impact on N.J. politics moving forward than Murphy’s announcement Sunday.