Senator Menendez of New Jersey is seeking re-election as his corruption trial enters its fourth week

Senator Bob Menendez filed for re-election as an independent candidate on Monday he still faces trial on federal charges of bribery and acting as a foreign agent.

New Jersey’s senior senator is entering the race as a candidate for sheriff despite having held the position for nearly two decades, but the fact that he entered is no surprise.

Menendez announced in March he will not seek re-election as a Democrat, raising the charges against him would preclude an issue-based campaign. He then announced that he might run for a seat as an independent MP if the charges against him were not sustained.

On Monday, the senator’s trial began its fourth week. Tuesday is the deadline for third-party candidates to submit nomination applications.

Menendez’s entry into the race was criticized by one of the leading candidates to replace him, Rep. Andy Kim (D-03).

“Americans are fed up with politicians putting their own interests ahead of what is good for the country. Everyone knows that Bob Menendez isn’t running for the people of New Jersey, he’s running for himself. It’s time for change, and I will make every effort to restore the integrity of the U.S. Senate,” Kim said.

State Senator Mike Testa (Cumberland), chairman of the Republican Party hotelier Curtis Bashaw’s Senate campaign, hurled insults at Menendez and Kim, arguing that Menendez’s decision to enter the race gives the Republican Party its best chance of winning the seat in more than 50 years. The last time New Jersey voters elected a Republican to the Senate was 1972.

“New Jersey voters deserve a change from career Democratic politicians like Bob Menendez and Andy Kim, who have failed to provide for New Jersey families for too long,” Testa said.

Menendez faces a narrow path to victory. Although Democratic primary voters stuck with him after his first corruption trial ended in a hung jury in 2017, he was renominated the following year with just 62% of the vote.

Lisa McCormick, a longtime candidate with no credible campaign, won 38% of the vote in what was widely seen as a rebuke to the incumbent president, and polls show New Jerseyans’ respect for the senior senator has only temporarily waned.

AND Monmouth University survey released in March found New Jerseyans disapproved of Menendez’s job performance 74-16%, a modern low, and 63% told pollsters he should resign. Three-quarters said he was probably guilty as charged.

New Jersey Monitor is part of States Newsroom, a nonprofit news network supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. The New Jersey Monitor maintains editorial independence. If you have any questions, please contact editor Terrence T. McDonald: [email protected]. Keep following the New Jersey Monitor Facebook AND Twitter.

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