Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop, the only declared candidate for governor in 2025, tweeted that First Lady Tammy Murphy “would be a good senator” as challengers to incumbent Bob Menendez (D-NJ) emerge following his federal bribery indictment.
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
“Every couple years in late September it seems I do something that helps the Murphys politically,” Fulop wrote, referencing his 2016 endorsement of Phil Murphy instead of running for governor himself in 2017.
“I know social media feeds on critics but That said – to be fair if you look at Tammy’s work objectively she has been very engaged in NJ issues, poverty issues, infant mortality issues, disaster recovery, she is competent and would be a good senator.”
His remarks come after the New Jersey Globe reported that Tammy Murphy was fielding calls from Democratic leaders to run for Senate in the June 4th, 2024 primary.
U.S. Rep. Andy Kim (D-3) and progressive activist Larry Hamm have already announced challenges to Menendez, who hasn’t explicitly said he’s running following the corruption charges being unsealed by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York.
Fulop tweeted on Saturday that Kim is “a viable alternative” to Menendez who should not be taken lightly.
Whoever is the establishment pick for the Senate seat could have big implications for the governor’s race the following year, particularly if either U.S. Reps. Josh Gottheimer (D-5) or Mikie Sherrill (D-11) decide to remain federal representatives.
The three-count indictment charges Menendez and his wife with conspiracy to commit bribery, conspiracy to commit honest services fraud, and conspiracy to commit extortion under color and official right.
They are accused of having a “corrupt relationship” with New Jersey businessmen Wael Hana, Jose Uribe, and Fred Daibes. Those three are charged with the first two counts.
Overall, the indictment charges that the Menendezes accepted corrupt payments for their mortgage, a 2019 Mercedes-Benz C-Class C300, $486,471 in cash, another $79,760 from the safe deposit box, two one-kilogram gold bars, and 11 one-ounce gold bars.
For the moment, the Hudson County Democratic Organization has chosen to remain neutral in Menendez’s case, with only Fulop and Hoboken 2nd Ward Councilwoman Tiffanie Fisher denouncing him after the indictment was unsealed.
Most of the New Jersey congressional delegation has called on Menendez to step down, with U.S. Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) not saying anything, calls joined by former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA).
Menendez and Fulop have been on shaky ground since 2004 when they squared off in a lopsided congressional race, the first and only direct loss in Fulop’s political career.
His son, U.S. Rep. Rob Menendez (D-8), considered challenging Fulop for mayor in 2021, but ended up being the local party’s pick for Congress last year instead, a move that the Jersey City mayor supported.
The HCDO is in a potentially contentious situation with Hoboken Mayor Ravi Bhalla signaling he may run for Congress, prompting Rob Menendez to come out and say he will seek re-election prior to the party weighing in on his father’s case or issuing any endorsements for next year’s races.