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Goodbye to the machine

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It’s particularly good news that New Jersey Democrats used the self-defenestration of Robert Menendez to clear out the recently Republican nepo baby machine candidate and the mechanism they rely on to maintain power as well:

Tammy Murphy, New Jersey’s first lady, has ended her run for a U.S. Senate seat now held by the state’s embattled senior senator, Robert Menendez, she announced on Sunday in a video posted to social media.

Ms. Murphy said that she had concluded that continuing to compete in the Democratic primary against Representative Andy Kim, a third-term congressman from South Jersey, would mean waging a “very divisive and negative campaign.”

[…]

Ms. Murphy, 58, entered the race in November and was instantly endorsed by a coalition of influential Democratic Party leaders, including many whose livelihoods are dependent on the governor, who has nearly two years left in his term. Her bid led to virtually nonstop claims of nepotism by critics, who argued that the governor and Ms. Murphy, a first-time candidate with limited experience, were exploiting New Jersey’s entrenched system of boss politics.

Mr. Kim jumped into the race a day after Mr. Menendez was charged in September with accepting bribes of gold, cash and a Mercedes-Benz in exchange for his political influence. Since then, Mr. Kim has successfully yoked Ms. Murphy’s campaign to what he called the same style of “broken politics” that nurtured and protected Mr. Menendez for decades.

The first independent poll of the race showed Ms. Murphy was trailing Mr. Kim by 12 percentage points. Other surveys conducted by campaigns and political organizations showed Ms. Murphy, who until 10 years ago was registered to vote as a Republican, even farther behind.

Then, in the midst of the high-stakes primary contest, Mr. Kim filed a lawsuit that directly challenged an essential component of the state’s electoral system — a ballot structure designed to benefit the favored candidates of local political leaders. The practice allows county leaders to bracket their preferred candidates for every office together in a single row or column, a preferential ballot position known in New Jersey as “the line.”

This is the key — not only get rid of Menendez but make future Menendezes less likely.

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