Representative Andy Kim, a third-term Democratic congressman, won an early but significant victory on Saturday against New Jersey’s first lady, Tammy Murphy, as they compete in one of the country’s most closely watched Senate primaries.
Mr. Kim, 41, was selected as the Democratic Party’s nominee in Monmouth County during the first convention of its kind this election cycle — a high-stakes affair that drew a standing-room-only crowd of delegates to the Portuguese Club of Long Branch, a 32,000-person seaside community.
It was a win laden with symbolism. Ms. Murphy, 58, lives in Monmouth County, and Mr. Kim represents a large swath of the affluent, predominantly coastal region.
Mr. Kim, who heading into Saturday’s vote was perceived as the underdog, said he hoped the victory would generate momentum as he continues to make his case in the state’s other 20 counties that he is the Democrat best prepared to replace New Jersey’s embattled senior senator, Robert Menendez.
“If we can win here, where they’ve lived for decades here, I think it sends a very strong message across all of the counties,” Mr. Kim said about Ms. Murphy and her husband, Gov. Philip D. Murphy, who have lived in Red Bank, N.J., for about 25 years.
“The energy that we have is real, and it should not be underestimated,” Mr. Kim said.
Some delegates stood in line for an hour and 40 minutes to vote, delivering a 265-181 win for Mr. Kim.
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