Congressman Andy Kim wins Democratic U.S. Senate primary race

His victory comes after a bruising start to the primary, when a battle between him and New Jersey first lady Tammy Murphy began to take shape.

Listen 1:12
Andy Kim

Andy Kim at Terhune Orchards after he was declared the winner in New Jersey’s Democratic race for U.S. Senate. (David Matthau/WHYY)

What questions do you have about the 2024 elections? What major issues do you want candidates to address? Let us know.

U.S. Rep. Andy Kim has defeated Lawrence Hamm, the chairman of the People’s Organization for Progress, and Patricia Campos-Medina, a labor organizer and immigration rights representative, in New Jersey’s Democratic race for U.S. Senate.

Current U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez, who is on trial for alleged bribery and corruption, may also be in the race.

Menendez, who did not seek the Democratic nomination to pursue a fourth term, filed paperwork with the state late Monday to run on the ballot in the fall as an independent.

  • WHYY thanks our sponsors — become a WHYY sponsor

Menendez previously said he expects to be cleared of all federal charges against him, and if that happens he could run for reelection as an independent candidate.

Kim, the most well-known candidate in the Democratic primary, focused his campaign on fighting for working families.

At his victory speech, Kim said the race for U.S. Senate is about a movement for change.

“Right now we live in the time of the greatest amount of distrust in government in modern American history, 84% of people in New Jersey surveyed believe that their politicians are corrupt here in the state,” he said. “That’s something that we’re going to have to change.”

Kim said the biggest issues facing Garden State residents are high cost of living and affordability, “but it’s not just about those issues, it’s about why is it that we have not been able to come up with a government that is able to respond to these problems.”

One of his opponents, Lawrence Hamm, had presented himself as a relentless advocate for African Americans, human rights and civil rights for all oppressed people.

Kim’s other opponent, Campos-Medina, ran on a platform to expand opportunities for working-class New Jerseyans, improve educational opportunities for children and work on a federal immigration policy.

If Menendez runs in the general as an independent, it is unclear how much support he could draw away from Kim. There are about 900,000 more registered Democrats than Republicans in New Jersey, but more than one-third of voters in the state are registered as independents.

  • WHYY thanks our sponsors — become a WHYY sponsor

Three months ago, a Monmouth University poll found 75% of New Jerseyans believed Menendez was probably guilty of corruption, and a clear majority, 63%, said he should resign. Menendez rejected such calls from his Senate colleagues in the wake of his indictment.

In 2017, Menendez had been charged with using his office to help a friend defraud Medicare, but that trial ended with a deadlocked jury. A year later, he won reelection.

Get daily updates from WHYY News!

WHYY is your source for fact-based, in-depth journalism and information. As a nonprofit organization, we rely on financial support from readers like you. Please give today.

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

Together we can reach 100% of WHYY’s fiscal year goal