Among the New Jersey Democrats in Congress, Kim was the first to call for the senator’s resignation.
Bob Menendez is being challenged for the Democratic nomination by a rising star within his party, and he is also facing a stunning federal indictment and urgent calls to quit.
After a long and successful career in Washington, Rep. Andy Kim (D-N.J.) declared on Saturday that he would run against Menendez, immediately becoming the senator’s most significant electoral danger.
It’s a clear indication that Menendez’s political influence is crumbling. He no longer has the same intimidating presence that has kept his opponents at bay and his critics quiet in the past.
Kim, at 41 years old, has served three terms in Congress and has extensive experience in national security. He is not well known in New Jersey, but he has raised a lot of money and won several close races in a swing district.
There’s a chance he won’t be the first congressman from New Jersey to challenge Menendez in the House. There are a number of people in New Jersey who could take Menendez’s place if he were to resign, and party officials in the state are still trying to decide out how to respond to the explosive claims against Menendez.
Kim’s declaration, though, serves as a starting gun for the campaign to unseat New Jersey’s senior senator.
“I feel compelled to run against him,” Kim wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter. Not what I planned to accomplish, but New Jersey deserves better. We cannot put the Senate at risk or let our honor be questioned.
On Friday, Kim was the only Democrat from New Jersey’s congressional delegation to call for Menendez’s resignation. Gov. Phil Murphy wasn’t the only New Jersey Democrat to demand his resignation thereafter; five others did, too.
On Friday, prosecutors filed charges against Menendez, accusing him of accepting payments to exploit his position as leader of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to assist the Egyptian government and other companies. Despite pressure from inside his own state and party, Menendez has resigned from his position on the committee.
“I am not going anywhere,” Menendez stated in a statement after calls for his resignation Friday.
Since 2018, when Kim successfully challenged the Republican incumbent, she has represented New Jersey’s Third Congressional District. During the Obama administration, he was in charge of national security.
In New Jersey’s Democratic circles, Kim has risen to prominence thanks to his reputation as a successful fundraiser and his track record of defeating Republican opponents in a once-liberal swing district. Democratic chances in the 3rd Congressional District were bolstered by recent redistricting.
Competition for Kim’s House seat began almost immediately after his declaration. Burlington County Democratic state senator Troy Singleton and Assemblymember Carol Murphy have both expressed interest in seeking the nomination for New Jersey’s 3rd Congressional District.
“I love being a senator and representing my bosses in the 7th district and I am humbled to be considered for this tremendous opportunity,” Singleton said in a text message to POLITICO.
Despite mentioning the paucity of female representation in Congress, and the fact that no woman from South Jersey has ever served in the House, Murphy indicated she would wait until after the legislative elections in New Jersey in November to make a decision.
Since “so many of the rights and freedoms we enjoy have been deeply at risk and eradicated by activist jurists and state legislatures,” Murphy said in a statement, “I know how important a moment this is for women.”
Reporting was done in part by Daniel Han.