Rep. Andy Kim (D-N.J.) officially launched his campaign to unseat Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) on Friday. crowded brewery in South Jersey.

The third-term congressman was one of the first Democrats to call on Menendez to resign following a corruption indictment and announced a primary against him the next day.

“It doesn’t have to be a broken policy where people just put their personal ambition ahead of what’s good for this country,” Kim said Friday. “It’s about being a decent human being, a decent human being who treats others with respect.”

Kim presents himself as an experienced, level-headed leader dedicated to public service. Before running for Congress, he worked at the State Department and served as national security advisor during the Obama administration.

“I believe more than ever that New Jersey needs hard-working, trustworthy leaders focused on the common good and injecting some integrity and civility back into our politics,” Kim wrote in his statement. “We can no longer jeopardize the Senate or compromise our integrity. »

“Help me build a movement to restore confidence in our democracy,” he added.

Kim, 41, is counting on a grassroots effort to hold the seat as many of New Jersey’s establishment Democrats have rallied behind Tammy Murphy, the wife of Gov. Phil Murphy (D-N.J.), in what should be a hotly contested primary. – whether or not Menendez ends up running for re-election. Murphy, who has yet to launch an official bid, is expected to enter the race as early as next week.

“I showed that I can win difficult races. I am battle tested. I won three of the toughest races in recent New Jersey history,” the New Jersey congressman told reporters after the event. “(Voters) want someone who’s a workhorse, not a show horse – someone who’s just going to get the job done.” That’s what we tried to do.

Menendez was charged in September with conspiracy to commit bribery, extortion, honest services fraud and other corruption charges.

Prosecutors say Menendez and his wife, Nadine Arslanian, accepted “hundreds of thousands of dollars” to help a group of New Jersey businessmen and interests in Egypt.

The FBI discovered nearly half a million dollars in cash at the New Jersey senator’s home last year during a search, along with more than $100,000 in gold bars allegedly given to Menendez and his wife by businessmen.

Menendez has denied any wrongdoing and said he would not leave the Senate, despite calls from nearly every federally elected Democrat to do so.

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