Rep. Andy Kim secures upset win for NJ Democratic primary as he seeks to unseat embattled Sen. Bob Menendez

 June 5, 2024

Underdog candidate New Jersey Rep. Andy Kim has clinched the Democratic primary to run against incumbent and alleged criminal Sen. Bob Menendez, Fox News reported. Menendez faces charges including bribery, obstruction of justice, conspiracy, extortion, and others.

Tuesday's primary went to Kim over rivals Patricia Campos Medina and Lawrence Hamm for U.S. Senate. Kim will face off in November against Menendez, who has switched to run as an Independent in his reelection.

This continues a positive trend for Kim, who already triumphed over New Jersey's first lady, Tammy Murphy, in February during the Monmouth County Democratic convention. Kim sees this as a positive sign heading into the general election.

"The energy that we have is real, and it should not be underestimated," Kim said at the time. Sen. John Fetterman (D-PA) has also endorsed Kim in his effort to unseat Menendez.

Garden State Corruption

It's no secret that the Garden State has a corruption problem, but Menendez may take the cake when it comes to crooked politicians. He is accused of several crimes in connection with a bribery scheme.

The couple and other defendants allegedly took kickbacks in the form of gold bars and cash to use in exchange for using their influence to support the governments of Egypt and Qatar. They have all pleaded not guilty.

The last time Menendez faced charges in 2017, he was let off the hook by a hung jury and was a prominent Democrat in a deep-blue state. Now, he doesn't have the backing of the state's leading political party to cover for him.

Beyond Menendez's possible corruption, the political party system in New Jersey took yet another recent blow. Kim had sued over the way the ballots unfairly advantage those supported by the party system.

U.S. District Judge Zahid Quraishi agreed and ordered a block-style ballot for the June primary in his March ruling. "The integrity of the democratic process for a primary election is at stake, and the remedy Plaintiffs are seeking is extraordinary," the judge wrote, adding that the plaintiffs "met their burden."

Powerful Allies

Kim has found powerful allies in the fight against Menendez, including Fetterman. The Pennsylvania Democrat supported his fight to change the ballot that was a product of "the same kind of regime that had protected that kind of sleazeball Menendez," Politico reported.

Fetterman also took a swipe at Menendez in paying a compliment to Kim's superior integrity. "I feel very secure knowing that he has no gold bars underneath his mattress and won’t ever be accused of being a foreign agent for Egypt or Qatar," he added.

Others who have endorsed Kim are the Democratic Coalition of Ocean County, eight local Democratic organizations, and seven Democratic municipal committees. He also has the support of other Keystone State politicians, including six House Democrats.

However, the most powerful allies Kim has are the voters of New Jersey. Just a day after the primary, NBC News reported that Kim secured 74.8% of the vote over the other contenders, which points to a possible overall victory in November.

Kim is a strong candidate with all of the momentum going into the summer months. Although Menendez has been a part of New Jersey politics for decades, it appears his days are numbered.

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