Tammy Murphy Wins In A Blowout In Crucial Senate Democratic Convention In New Jersey

In a stunning triumph, First Lady Tammy Murphy emerged as the clear winner in the race for the Senate endorsement of Democrats in New Jersey’s largest county, defeating her main competitor, Representative Andy Kim.

Murphy’s decisive win at the Bergen County Democratic convention has dealt a blow to Kim’s campaign for the Senate seat left vacant by the indictment of Sen. Bob Menendez. This victory has helped Murphy regain lost ground in the county convention race, as Bergen County holds considerable influence due to its large number of Democratic votes in New Jersey.

In a resounding victory, Murphy secured 738 votes, surpassing Kim’s 419 votes, thereby securing 63.7 percent of the total votes. Importantly, Menendez, who hasn’t yet made a decision regarding his reelection bid, chose not to participate in the convention.

In a historic move, Kim Murphy secured a major endorsement on Monday through a secret ballot vote at the county convention. This victory is particularly significant because it is the first time that rank-and-file Democrats, rather than party leaders, have had the power to determine the county’s support. As a result, Murphy’s name will now be featured more prominently on primary ballots across the state. This poses a considerable challenge for Kim, as she must overcome this statistical advantage in order to succeed.

“I am really pleased with how things have turned out,” Murphy expressed to reporters following the announcement of the results. “This extraordinary victory feels absolutely fantastic, and I couldn’t be happier.”


In November, Murphy joined the Senate race and was initially seen as the frontrunner, thanks to the support from influential Democratic party leaders who have a significant influence in New Jersey primaries. However, Kim has emerged as the leader in public polling and has secured endorsements through secret ballot votes in five prior Democratic county conventions in Monmouth, Burlington, Hunterdon, Warren, and Sussex counties.

However, when we consider the overall Democratic electorate, the combined influence of those counties is only around 14 percent. In contrast, Bergen County alone represents approximately 10 percent of Democrats statewide. It’s worth noting that Murphy has garnered the support of party leaders in other counties that follow a more top-down endorsement process. This backing ensures that Murphy enjoys a favorable position on the primary ballot in many parts of the state compared to Kim.

Despite Kim’s impressive winning streak, Murphy was considered the favorite in Bergen during Monday’s contest. This was mainly due to the endorsement of Paul Juliano, the influential Bergen County Democratic Chair, and the support of 100 Bergen County Democrats who endorsed her candidacy. It’s worth noting that Juliano has a $280,000 position as the leader of the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority, which he secured with the backing of Governor Phil Murphy. Additionally, the governor previously nominated Juliano for a part-time position on the board of the state’s largest health insurance company, earning him a salary of $82,000.

Kim expressed her thoughts to reporters following the announcement of the results, stating that it was never a fair fight.

Murphy shrugged when reporters inquired about Juliano’s support for her leading up to the convention.

“It’s truly exhilarating to engage with individuals from all across the state,” expressed Murphy. “When you stand by my side and listen to the conversations I’m having, you can truly feel the genuine enthusiasm of the people.”

Juliano expressed his amazement at the turnout, stating that it was the highest he had witnessed in decades.

Juliano praised the people in the room and the strong organization in Bergen County for the impressive turnout of 1,157 delegates.

Bergen County played a significant role in the Murphy versus Kim competition. As the largest county in the state, it has a substantial number of Democratic primary voters, second only to Essex County, according to state data.

Kim expressed his confidence in the race, including in Bergen County, and shared his satisfaction with his campaign’s performance. He acknowledged the challenge they faced but highlighted the significance of over 400 individuals who stood up against the county chair, the governor, and the governor’s family. Kim admitted that the race was closer than anticipated, emphasizing the resilience of his campaign.

He mentioned, “I’m planning to visit Bergen in June.”

Winning the party endorsement in Bergen County means that Murphy will secure the county line. This ballot design places county party-backed candidates together in a single column on primary ballots. It has been shown that winning the line provides candidates with a significant advantage as they are more prominently displayed to voters.

In the state of New Jersey, only two counties, namely Sussex and Salem, deviate from the common practice of grouping candidates together in the “line” on the ballot. Instead, these counties utilize an office block format, where candidates are organized based on the office they are seeking. This design is unique to these two counties, as all other counties in the state follow the conventional approach.

The method of awarding the line varies among the county parties in the state. Some counties choose to award it through a secret ballot vote involving numerous low-level party officials. In contrast, other counties rely on a single party leader to grant favorable ballot placement. Murphy enjoys the support of party leaders in counties that follow a top-down approach to endorsements. These counties, including Middlesex, Camden, Essex, and Hudson Counties, are known as Democratic strongholds.

Murphy secured the endorsement of the Union County Democrats over the weekend, earning her a favorable ballot positioning. This endorsement was granted after a vote conducted by 22 Union County party leaders. Additionally, she also received the endorsement of the Passaic County Democrats, where a select few party leaders determine the allocation of favored ballot positioning.

Kim has taken legal action by filing a lawsuit in federal court with the aim of abolishing the county line system for the June primary.

The Bergen County convention held on Monday was under close scrutiny by Democratic party leaders throughout the state. John Currie, the Passaic County Democratic Chair and a supporter of Murphy, expressed his concern over the possibility of her not winning the convention.

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