🔵 A poll suggests NJ residents are largely unaware of U.S. Senator candidates

🔵 The challengers are going after the seat held by the embattled Sen. Menendez

🔵 A debate is scheduled for February

With the primary race just a few months away, a new poll shows that many Garden State residents don't know much, if anything at all, about the Democrats going after the seat of the federally charged Sen. Bob Menendez.

And both have had their names in the New Jersey political arena for years.

Who's running for Menendez's seat?

In a Rutgers-Eagleton poll, 45 percent of New Jersey adults said they are unaware of Andy Kim, who's currently serving his third term for New Jersey in the U.S. House of Representatives. Another 23% said they are unsure of Kim.

Thirty-eight percent of respondents said they are unaware of Tammy Murphy, the wife of Gov. Phil Murphy. Twenty-four percent are unsure of her.

"Both Andy Kim and Tammy Murphy will still have a long way to go in terms of name recognition, and they only have less than five months to do it," said Ashley Koning, director of the Eagleton Center for Public Interest Polling at Rutgers-New Brunswick.

Murphy announced her candidacy in November. Kim hinted at a run immediately after federal prosecutors announced an indictment against Menendez in September — and the accusations against the three-term Senator have grown since.

Murphy and Kim will have a chance to increase recognition when they face off in their first debate on Feb. 18.

In the poll, Kim's favorability rating is at 23%. Ten percent of New Jerseyans have an unfavorable opinion of him.

In just a couple months, both favorable and unfavorable impressions of Murphy have increased. Eighteen percent view her favorably and 20% view her unfavorably.

Poll results on Sen. Menendez

Menendez, who is fighting multiple federal indictments, has not yet announced whether he will run for reelection. The Rutgers-Eagelton poll suggests he won't have much support if he were to make a run for a fourth term.

Sixty percent of New Jerseyans have an unfavorable impression of Menendez. Nine percent have a favorable impression.

"While his challengers need to gain ground in terms of name recognition, Menendez has the much harder task of revising the negativity surrounding him if he decides to stay in the race," Koning said.

The primary is June 4.

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