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First Lady of New Jersey Tammy Snyder Murphy speaks as Governor Philip D. Murphy sworn in for his second term in office as the 56th Governor of the State of New Jersey at War Memorial Building in Trenton, New Jersey, United States on January 18, 2022.

Tayfun Coskun | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

Tammy Murphy, the wife of New Jersey Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy, announced Sunday that she would withdraw from the state’s Democratic Senate primary contest. The winner of that June 4 election will become the favorite to replace indicted Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez.

“After many busy, invigorating, and yes, challenging months. I am suspending my Senate campaign today,” Murphy said in a Sunday post on X. “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.”

Murphy’s exit widens the path for Democratic Rep. Andy Kim to lock down his frontrunner status ahead of the primary.

Menendez confirmed last week that he would not run for a fourth term as a Democrat. He also teased a potential run for his set as an Independent.

The senator and his wife have been indicted on more than a dozen federal criminal counts, including allegations of bribery. Prosecutors claim that Menendez provided sensitive information to the Egyptian government, allegedly trading his political clout for hundreds of thousands of dollars in gifts, including gold bars and a Mercedes-Benz convertible.

“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,” Murphy, a former Republican voter, added in her drop-out announcement.

In June, Kim, who launched his campaign the day after Menendez was indicted, will face off against several long-shot challengers, including progressive activists Larry Hamm and Patricia Campos-Medina.

Kim has so far been the Democratic favorite, polling steadily ahead of Murphy, especially as she lost several county-level convention endorsements, including her home turf of Monmouth County.

Last Monday, Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop rescinded his endorsement of Murphy and switched it to Kim.

“It’s not always comfortable to admit a mistake but clearly I made one here and this convention season has demonstrated [Kim] is the better candidate to represent NJ,” Fulop wrote in a post on X.

The Murphy campaign declined to provide further comment.

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