Republicans eye Senate seat scarred by Bob Menendez scandal

Republicans are optimistic about their chances of capturing a U.S. Senate seat in New Jersey because of the scandal engulfing challenger Sen. Robert Menendez, the party’s best chance to win in the Garden State in decades, Republicans told The Post on Saturday.

“I really think Republicans, for the first time in a long time, have a chance,” said Rep. Jeff Van Drew (R-Atlantic City). “You see Democrats coming out saying I should resign, they’re scared. “They are going to do everything possible to try to get him out.”

He continued: “I think people in New Jersey may be ready for a conservative populist.”

Van Drew said he was being inundated with calls from New Jersey residents to throw his hat in the ring and was considering the idea.

Democrat Kyle Jasey, a Jersey City real estate businessman, and Republican Christine Serrano Glassner, mayor of Mendham Borough, had already announced it before the indictment against Menendez.

Menendez, 69, and his wife were indicted Friday on federal corruption charges, including allegedly receiving more than $600,000 in bribes from a group of New Jersey businessmen to benefit them and promote the interests of the Egyptian government. .

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy called for the senator to resign.

A resignation by Menendez would allow the Democratic governor to name a replacement before the 2024 elections, where Menendez’s seat would be up for grabs.

But Menendez called the accusations a “smear campaign” and simply resigned from his chairmanship of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, promising to stay on for now, something Republicans would be very happy to see happen.

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Senator Robert Menéndez faces increasing calls for him to resign over alleged corruption.REUTERS
Senator Menendez has previously rejected federal charges and is a known survivor. Senator Menendez has previously rejected federal charges and is a known survivor. WILL OLIVER/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

“We are watching the New Jersey Senate race closely,” said Rep. Mike Berg.

National Republican Senatorial Committee that oversees the party’s prospects in the Senate.

Menendez is likely to face a bruising primary from Democrats desperate to keep the indicted politician off the 2024 ballot.

Already on Saturday, Representative Andy Kim (D-N.J.) said that he will call Menéndez to the primaries in the wake of the scandal.

What we know about the Bob Menéndez accusation

New Jersey Senator Bob Menendez faces federal corruption charges related to an alleged multi-year scheme.

Menendez allegedly accepted bribes, including gold bars, in exchange for helping three businessmen, Wael Hana, José Uribe and Fred Daibes, and the country of Egypt, according to officials.

Menendez and his wife, Nadine, were accused of accepting hundreds of thousands of bribes, according to a Manhattan federal indictment.

When the feds raided Menendez’s Englewood Cliffs home in June 2022, they found a 2019 Mercedes C-Class, at least 13 gold bars and $566,000 in cash “stuffed in envelopes.” Another $70,000 in cash was found in Nadine’s safe deposit box.

    Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., and his wife Nadine Menendez.Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) and his wife, Nadine Menendez, were indicted on federal corruption charges.AP

The feds say Menendez also received mortgage payments and paid for a low- or no-support job and home furnishings.

This is not the first time the 69-year-old Democrat has faced federal corruption charges. In 2015, Menendez was accused of accepting gifts from Florida eye surgeon Salomon Melgen.

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The “gifts” included a vacation to Paris, flights on a private jet, and a vacation to Melgen’s villa in the Dominican Republic.

“After calls to resign, Senator Menendez said ‘I’m not going anywhere.’ As a result, I feel compelled to run against him,” Kim said on X, formerly Twitter.

“It’s not something I expected to do, but New Jersey deserves better. “We cannot endanger the Senate or compromise our integrity,” added Kim, who the day before asked Menéndez to resign.

But Menéndez is a well-known political survivor and managed to reject federal corruption charges six years ago, remaining in the Senate throughout the process.

Republicans hope the scandal surrounding Menendez's seat will tilt the 2024 elections in New Jersey in their favor.Republicans hope the scandal surrounding Menendez’s seat will tilt the 2024 elections in New Jersey in their favor.AP

“Those who believe in justice believe in innocence until proven otherwise,” Menéndez said Friday. “I intend to continue fighting for the people of New Jersey with the same success I have had over the past five decades.

New Jersey’s pivot adds to growing Republican optimism that the red wave that failed to materialize in 2022 could actually occur in 2024.

Even with Menendez’s problems, the Republican Party will continue to face difficulties in the state. New Jersey is solidly blue and has not elected a Republican senator since Clifford P. Case in 1972.

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Source: vtt.edu.vn

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