Senator Bob Menendez, facing challenges, announces independent run, sparking concerns among Democrats about potential majority loss

8 days ago
Senator Bob Menendez, facing challenges, announces independent run, sparking concerns among Democrats about potential majority loss

As the New Jersey Democratic primary election drew near, Senator Bob Menendez surprised many by announcing his decision to run as an independent candidate. This unexpected move has raised concerns among party members about the potential impact on the already narrow Democratic majority.

In 2023, Menendez, along with his wife Nadine (née Arslanian), faced federal corruption allegations that led to a significant loss of support from the Democratic Party. The accusations included sharing sensitive political information with Egyptians, storing gold bars and cash at home, and engaging in unethical practices to monopolize the US halal market.

The allegations’ strange nature provided ample material for late-night comedians and left many Democrats feeling embarrassed. Registering as an independent the day before Tuesday’s election was likely a disappointment for party strategists who were likely hoping this primary would mark the end of his senate career.

“Disgraced Senator Menendez has already stained the Democratic Party enough. He should do the right thing and tell his few remaining supporters to support the Democratic nominee. Rather than use his campaign funds to pay for his legal bills, as some suspect,” Connor Farrell, founder and CEO of Left Rising, a fundraising consulting firm for progressive candidates, told The New Arab, likely expressing what many Democrats were thinking following Menendez’s decision to stay in the race.

Indeed, with his approval rating currently hovering around 10 percent, Menendez has almost no pathway to re-election, leading to speculation that he’s only staying in the race to raise money for his own legal bills, as his trial continues.

“As long as he’s an active candidate, he can still raise money. It comes in handy if you’re in a legal situation,” J. Miles Coleman, associate editor of Sabato’s Crystal Ball at the University of Virginia Center for Politics, told TNA, adding that he doesn’t expect Menendez to get more than 6 percent of the vote. 

Will the presence of Menendez in the race affect the outcome? On Tuesday night, Andy Kim won New Jersey’s Democratic primary with more than 76 percent of the vote, giving him a strong mandate for the general election. Though New Jersey is a blue state, Republican candidates for statewide office can get around 45 percent of the vote, meaning the Democrats can’t take this race for granted, particularly if they want to keep their narrow US Senate majority.


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