Sen. John Fetterman endorsed Rep. Andy Kim to replace indicted Sen. 'Bobby Gold Bars' Menendez in New Jersey

 January 20, 2024

Sen. John Fetterman (D-PA) has made no secret of his disdain for his criminally indicted colleague, Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ), as the former has frequently trolled the latter over his bribery allegations and repeatedly demanded that he resign from the Senate in disgrace.

Now Fetterman has taken his opposition to Menendez to a new level by endorsing a likely primary challenger against the indicted incumbent, Rep. Andy Kim (D-NJ), should Menendez decide to run for re-election this year, The Hill reported.

The New Jersey senator has denied the allegations against him of bribery and corruption and has staunchly resisted the demands for his resignation from Fetterman and others, and though he has not yet formally announced if he will run for another term in the Senate he has given some indications that he plans to do so.

Fetterman endorsed Kim to replace Menendez

The New York Times reported on Thursday that Sen. Fetterman, who said in an interview that "anything would be an upgrade over Menendez," offered his endorsement of Rep. Kim to replace the beleaguered senior senator from New Jersey.

The Pennsylvania senator explained that he was "enthusiastic" about the prospects of Kim joining him in the Senate but had reservations about the other major candidate aiming to replace Sen. Menendez -- New Jersey's first lady Tammy Murphy, the wife of Gov. Phil Murphy, who previously was a registered Republican until she switched to register as a Democrat in 2014.

"One of the most important things is that we have a reliable Democratic vote," Fetterman told The Times. "We have to run this table in ’24 in order to maintain the majority. But we need to count on every Democratic vote. Andy Kim is the kind of guy we can count on."

"I wouldn’t want to risk having someone that might waffle when we have to deliver a solid Democratic vote in a very, very divided Senate like we have," he added as he praised Kim's record over three terms as a "distinguished member of Congress who has been working really, really hard."

With Kim, no worries about "gold bars underneath his mattress," says Fetterman

Sen. Fetterman also shared his endorsement of Rep. Kim with the Associated Press and, albeit without directly naming, took a swipe at Sen. Menendez over the allegations that he accepted bribes, including large sums of cash and gold bars, from foreign nations like Egypt and Qatar in exchange for using his power and influence to provide favors to those countries.

In mentioning the "deep honor" with which Kim has served in Congress over the last half-decade, the Pennsylvania senator quipped, "I feel very secure knowing that he has no gold bars underneath his mattress and won’t ever be accused of being a foreign agent for Egypt or Qatar."

As for Kim's response to the endorsement from Fetterman, he said in a statement, "To have someone who is a sitting senator, who knows the job, knows the role of a legislator at this moment, and also just understands the crazy, chaotic moment that we live in right now, that’s something that stands out, and I’m glad to have his support."

Fetterman says "Bobby Gold Bars has got to go"

The Hill reported that, in addition to sharing his endorsement of Rep. Kim in the interviews with The Times and the AP, Sen. Fetterman also announced his support for the congressman with a social media post that also served as yet another trollish critique of his apparent nemesis, Sen. Menendez.

"I'm proud to endorse @AndyKimNJ, someone we can count on to be a reliable Democratic vote in the Senate," Fetterman wrote. "Bobby Gold Bars has got to go. And New Jersey has the opportunity to elect a truly decent person in his place."

Kim similarly took to social media to share the news of the Fetterman endorsement he'd received, and posted, "@JohnFetterman certainly knows the reality of holding off Republican chaos. New Jersey deserves a battle-tested Democratic voice, ready day 1 in the Senate. I am proud to have the support of a colleague who understands our movement and the urgency of this moment."

The Times noted that first lady Murphy has received plenty of endorsements of her own, including from Democratic establishment figures and powerful institutions like county-level party leaders, but polls show that Kim has a substantial lead over the governor's wife.

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