As embattled Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez remains defiant amid deeply serious federal charges of acting as a foreign agent for Egypt, the battle for his New Jersey seat is shaping up to be a momentous primary that could put the clout of the state’s vaunted party bosses to the test.

The day after the first indictment against Menendez dropped in September, Rep. Andy Kim announced he would take on the three-term incumbent. As we wrote back then, a large field looked like it was forming. But the much-anticipated entrance of New Jersey First Lady Tammy Murphy froze out other would-be Democratic contestants. Today, this is essentially a two-way contest between Murphy and Kim.

Murphy has the New Jersey Democratic establishment squarely behind her and appears poised to get the all-important county lines in nearly every corner of the state. But Kim, who is working to get progressive support behind him and could amass a small dollar donor army, can’t be counted out.

Murphy is making her first bid for elective office and would become New Jersey’s first female senator

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