New Jersey appeared set to host a battle royale primary between First Lady Tammy Murphy and Rep. Andy Kim, testing the mettle of the state’s Democratic machine and county line system. But then on Sunday, Murphy surprisingly dropped out of the race one day before the filing deadline, leaving Kim as the all-but-certain Democratic nominee.

With Kim essentially locking up the Democratic nomination — even though indicted Sen. Bob Menendez is threatening to run as an independent — it’s clear any acrimony in the race that could have threatened Democrats’ control on this seat has largely dissipated. We’ll continue to monitor any effect Menendez may have on the race, but with Murphy’s exit and the state machine likely set to line up behind Kim, this race has a clear trajectory. As such, we are shifting our rating from Likely to Solid Democrat.

According to the New Jersey Globe, “Murphy made the decision on Saturday evening after a discussion with her family – including her husband, Gov. Phil Murphy – and political advisors. The conclusion was that she had a

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