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Tammy Murphy has glaring weakness in Senate seat battle, says former Democratic strategist

Thirty years ago, a pop singer named Andy Kim reached No. 1 on the Billboard charts with “Rock Me Gently.” And on Saturday, New Jersey’s Andy Kim shook the Garden State’s political world — and not so gently.

Kim, a U.S. representative who is vying for a Senate seat long held by fellow indicted Democrat Robert Menendez, stunned first lady Tammy Murphy in a major first battle that a former New Jersey political strategist said revealed a glaring weakness that could be his undoing.

Kim, a three-term congressman, won Democratic Party support in Monmouth County – Murphy’s turf – at a convention in Long Branch, where hundreds of local officials and rank-and-file committee members filled a ballroom to choose their candidate. for the June 4 primary.

In a series of tweetsformer Democratic strategist and NJ Advance Media contributor Julie Roginsky said the wealthy Murphys’ shocking defeat shows the millionaire governor and his wife fundamentally don’t know how to appeal to regular voters — a crack that was initially exposed when Murphy edged out GOP candidate Jack Ciattarelli for re-election in November 2021.

“One final thought on the New Jersey Senate primary: The Murphys were never forced to appeal to base voters,” Roginsky tweeted. “Phil Murphy was spared a real primary in 2017. He secured the Democratic nomination months before the first vote was cast by some of us playing a very good insider game for him.

“After Christie, the 2017 general would have been a breeze for anyone with a (D) after their name. COVID spared him a primary in 2021 and he thought the advantage of a million Democratic voters in New Jersey would make 2021 a breeze. (He was wrong and almost lost)

“In terms of messaging to real voters, they don’t care. They have their go-to insider blogs and either don’t know how or don’t want to tap into the media that real voters read. (What’s left of it) *Everything* is an indoor game, where their audience is <50 insiders.

“So it’s no surprise that when a real election takes place, the likes of which Democrats haven’t really seen in over 20 years, neither they nor their staff know how to attract real voters.

“Their strategy can still work and they can still do it by playing the inside game and making deals for county lines. It’s certainly not a bad plan. But it’s the *only* plan and that’s the problem.

“I say this as someone who has worked for the Murphys, for almost every powerful organization in the state and also in all 3 races (McGreevey 1997, Corzine 2000 and Lautenberg 2008) where the winning campaigns appealed to both to the insiders and to the base, the rank-and-file voters.

In many of the largest counties, Democratic bosses exercise near-total control over which candidates the party selects in competitive primaries. This comes with an invaluable preferential position on the ballot, known as “the line.” Murphy gained support in many of those counties.

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