NEW JERSEY (WABC) -- New Jersey First Lady Tammy Murphy announced she is running for Senator Robert Menendez's seat.
Murphy entered the race in a launch video that takes aim at the embattled senator.
"Right now, Washington is filled with too many people more interested in getting rich or getting on camera than getting things done for you," she says in the video, alongside footage of DC lawmakers, including Menendez.
"We owe it to our kids to do better," she says.
In the video, Murphy highlights her efforts as first lady to reduce maternal mortality in New Jersey and to include climate change education in school curriculum.
"I'm so proud of everything we've accomplished," she says. "But I know there's a lot more to do."
The 58-year-old Tammy Murphy has never held public office. But during the past six years, she has been at the governor's side during numerous public events, and has championed causes of her own, like women's and maternal health.
Murphy's main opponent at this point, Rep. Andy Kim, is vowing to stay in the race, releasing a launch video Tuesday for his Senate run. It is likely major state Democrats will fall in line to back the first lady, but Kim says he is undeterred.
One other possible candidate is Congressman Josh Gottheimer, who represents North Jersey. The field is already getting crowded.
As for Menendez, he has not said whether he is seeking reelection, but he did release a statement on Wednesday.
"When Phil Murphy rushed to judgement and called on me to resign, it was clear he had a personal, vested interest in doing so at the expense of core democratic principles - the presumption of innocence and due process. Governor Murphy has said he won't appoint his wife to the seat, but why would he since there was never a need to? They believe they have to answer to nobody, but I am confident that the people of New Jersey will push back against this blatant maneuver at disenfranchisement.
"While Tammy Murphy was a card-carrying Republican for years, I was working to elect Democrats up and down the ballot and fighting in Washington to deliver for hardworking families in New Jersey. Mrs. Murphy will need to explain why she and the Governor believe that if taxes are your issue, New Jersey is not your state. Doesn't every family and small business owner deserve tax relief and the ability to afford the state they call home? She will need to finally address why so many veterans died in state-run nursing homes during the COVID-19 pandemic and why the state hasn't fully implemented a tutoring program to address learning losses with federal funding I brought back to New Jersey.
"I'll gladly put up my record of success on behalf of the people of New Jersey against anyone and am confident that when all the facts have been presented and my innocence proven, I'll continue to do what I've always done for the past 30-plus years - deliver results for the people of New Jersey."
The Hudson County Democratic Organization wasted no time in issuing their endorsement for Tammy Murphy. Chairman Anthony Vainieri is leading a massive group of local Democratic endorsers including 11 Mayors, 9 State Legislators and the next County Executive. First Lady Murphy will run on the HCDO ballot line in the June 2024 Democratic Primary. Chairman Vainieri released a statement saying:
"From her strong record of advocating for progressive policy initiatives like protecting women and children's health, to her incredible success raising millions of dollars for families in desperate need during the pandemic, to her business background and her long political record as a renowned Democratic fundraiser, it's clear that Tammy Murphy is a uniquely qualified candidate for the U.S. Senate," said Chairman Vainieri. "The Hudson County Democratic Organization is honored to give Tammy Murphy our full, unequivocal support. We look forward to working closely with Tammy and her team to reintroduce her to Hudson County voters and help her become the first woman to represent New Jersey in the U.S. Senate."