Diverse Voices: U.S. Rep. Andy Kim Says He Is Ready for Historic Campaign for U.S. Senate


Photo of Andy Kim by AC JosepH Media.


CHERRY HILL — Fifty years ago, Andy Kim’s parents moved from South Korea to make a new life in the United States.

Little did they know at the time that their son would be a member of the U.S. House of Representatives and make his way to the verge of making history, from winning the Democratic nomination in June to run for Sen. Bob Menendez’s seat in November.

Kim stood in front of Cherry Hill High School West earlier this month during a celebration of Asian and Pacific American Heritage Month, ready to share his story growing up in the community and a little about his historic run.

With First Lady Tammy Murphy dropping out of the Democratic Primary and U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez — who faces federal corruption charges — opting to skip the June 4 vote as well, Kim has become the mainstream front runner in the race.

“I’m really blown away by the energy of our campaign,” Kim told Front Runner New Jersey.com at the May 4 event. “People from all over New Jersey have been fired up paying attention. I want to make sure that we’re doing everything we can to be able to step up to give people in New Jersey a choice.

“I hope my campaign will show what public service is about at this time of such craziness. I’m hopeful that we will be successful with this campaign and continue to step out.”

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Kim said growing up, it seemed out of the realm of possibility to run for a seat on Capitol Hill and legislate for the country. Now he is excited about the possibly and ready to work for the American people.

“I’m a son of immigrants, a public school kid, you know. I never ever thought I would ever have the chance to be able to run for the United States Senate, but that’s what people want. They want a government that looks like the rest of America. They want government to be people that are not just rich and well connected.

“They want regular people that come from working families to have a chance to be able to lift up that voice. I realized what I can contribute is hopefully something that can benefit our whole community. Right now, more than ever, I think that’s what people want the most.”

Kim’s run is hardly a shoo-in at this point. If he wins the Democratic nomination, there are at least three Republicans vying for the seat in their primary. Menendez remains the biggest wildcard of all. While dropping out of the Democratic primary, the longtime Senator has hinted at an independent run, which could drain votes from the Democratic candidate, regardless of who wins on June 4.

Kim said though, that it was hard work that turned his long-shot Senate candidate into the favorite and that hard work will continue after the primary.

“I don’t think some people gave us a chance because, you know, I’m from South Jersey. I don’t have the connections in politics, but again, what I’ve learned is that people don’t want to be told who to vote for. They want to make up their own minds. They see that I’ve been a public servant my whole career and I know how to deliver to get things done.”

U.S. Rep. Andy Kim speaks to a crowd at Cherry Hill High School West on May 5.

Kim, 41, was born in Boston and grew up in South Jersey where his father worked as a geneticist and his mother was a nurse. He graduated from Cherry Hill High School East and then from the University of Chicago with a degree in political science.

He was selected as a prestigious Rhode Scholar, where he became friends with fellow Rhodes Scholar and current Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. He went on to work in the State Department as a civilian advisor to General David Petraeus and General John R. Allen in Afghanistan. He served as an official on the U.S. National Security Council under President Barack Obama.

In 2018, Kim stunned the political establishment by winning the Democratic nomination for the District 3 U.S. House race and then upset two-term incumbent Republican Thom MacArthur by 1%. In 2020, Kim defeated businessman David Richter, winning 53% of the vote.

In 2022, Kim won 55% of the vote in turning back Republican Robert Healey. If he wins the Democratic nomination for Senator, Kim will be trying to win his first statewide race in New Jersey.

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