In a video announcing her campaign, Democrat Tammy Murphy pointedly says that Washington is filled with people "more interested in getting rich ... than getting things done for you"
New Jersey first lady Tammy Murphy announced Wednesday that she is challenging embattled U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez for the Democratic nomination in the state's 2024 Senate race.
In a video shared to social media, Murphy, 58, acknowledges that most will know her as the wife of New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, who has been in office since 2018.
But, as she goes on to say, she also had her own successful career in finance.
"A lot of times, I was the only woman at the table," she says. "A challenge that led me to work twice as hard." That career, she notes, is how she met her husband and how she began to focus on things like New Jersey's once-high infant mortality rate and improving maternal health in communities of color.
"I know there's a lot more to do," she continues. "And that's why I'm announcing this: I'm running for the United States Senate."
Elsewhere in the video, Murphy pointedly says that Washington is filled with politicians "more interested in getting rich or getting on camera than getting things done for you," as footage of Menendez is shown.
— Tammy Murphy (@TammyMurphyNJ) November 15, 2023
Menendez, a 69-year-old Democrat who is up for reelection in 2024, and his wife, Nadine, were indicted on federal bribery charges in September, following an investigation into their business dealings with three businessmen connected to Egypt's government. Both Menendez and his wife pleaded not guilty.
The indictment alleges that Menendez and Nadine, 56, accepted hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of bribes in exchange for protecting the three businessmen — Wael Hana, Jose Uribe and Fred Daibes — and to "benefit" the government of Egypt.
"This corrupt relationship resulted in Robert Menendez, the defendant, promising to take and taking a series of official acts and breaches of official duty in exchange for bribes that benefitted him both directly, and indirectly through Nadine Menendez," the indictment claims.
The indictment further alleges that the senator "provided sensitive U.S. Government information and took other steps that secretly aided the Government of Egypt," and "improperly advised and pressured an official at the United States Department of Agriculture for the purpose of protecting a business monopoly" granted to one of the businessmen, Hana, by the country of Egypt.
The couple were originally charged with three counts — conspiracy to commit bribery, conspiracy to commit honest services fraud, and conspiracy to commit extortion under color of official right — before being hit with an additional charge of acting as a foreign agent for Egypt.
Court filings allege that a search warrant of the Menendez home and safe deposit box executed in June 2022 turned up hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash.
"Over $480,000 in cash — much of it stuffed into envelopes and hidden in clothing, closets, and a safe — was discovered in the home, along with over $70,000 in Nadine Menendez's safe deposit box," the indictment alleges.
Menendez has since told reporters the cash came from his "personal savings."
Prosecutors have further alleged that two of the men helped finance a 2019 Mercedez-Benz C-300 convertible worth more than $60,000 for Nadine in the wake of a 2018 incident in which she struck and killed a man. (Nadine was declared “not at fault” because the victim had been jaywalking, per a police report viewed by The New York Times and The Record.)
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Menendez was until recently the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and has served as a senator since 2006. Prior to that, he was a U.S. Representative and a state senator, a state representative, and the mayor of Union City, New Jersey.
Many lawmakers have called on Menendez — who is up for reelection in 2024 — to resign in the wake of the indictment, though he has said he has no plans to step down.
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