Tammy Murphy’s Campaign Manager Departs After Rocky Start to Senate Race

Tammy Murphy, New Jersey’s first lady who is running for U.S. Senate, has lagged behind her main Democratic primary opponent, Representative Andy Kim, in public opinion polls and in the race for momentum among rank-and-file voters.

On Thursday, in a sign of a shifting strategy, she said goodbye to her campaign manager, Max Glass. There is no immediate replacement, aides said.

“We are extremely grateful for the value and the passion that Max brought to our team and his efforts to stand up this campaign,” the campaign’s spokeswoman, Alex Altman, said.

Ms. Murphy, the wife of New Jersey’s governor, Philip D. Murphy, began her campaign for the seat now held by the state’s embattled senior senator, Robert Menendez, in November. Mr. Menendez, who has been charged with accepting bribes in exchange for political favors, has not ruled out running for re-election.

With the governor’s support, Ms. Murphy quickly racked up endorsements from many of the state’s most influential Democratic Party leaders.

But a poll released this month showed that Ms. Murphy, a first-time candidate with limited experience, was trailing Mr. Kim, a third-term congressman from South Jersey, 32 percent to 20 percent among Democratic voters. A week later, Ms. Murphy, 58, lost the Democratic convention in Monmouth County, where she has lived for 25 years, by a large margin.

Ms. Altman described Mr. Glass’s departure as a transition, and said the campaign remained confident that it had a “clear path to winning the primary.”

Mr. Glass said he had no comment.

Mr. Glass, a seasoned Democratic campaign strategist, is married to Mollie Binotto, who ran Mr. Murphy’s re-election campaign for governor in 2021.

In 2022, Mr. Glass ran the re-election campaign of Senator Richard Blumenthal, Democrat of Connecticut. He has also run statewide campaigns in Kansas, Michigan and North Carolina, according to his LinkedIn account.

Saily Avelenda, who until several weeks ago was the director of the Democratic State Committee, has joined the Murphy campaign as a consultant, Ms. Altman said.

Two other Democrats, Larry Hamm, a left-leaning activist who has served on the Newark school board, and Patricia Campos-Medina, a union leader, are also competing for the Democratic nomination in the June 4 primary.

Mr. Kim’s spokesman said he had no comment on the Murphy campaign’s staffing change.

Dana Rubinstein contributed reporting.

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