Sat. Jul 20th, 2024

Indicted Sen. Bob Menendez is considering running for re-election as an independent, sources say

By 37ci3 Mar15,2024

WASHINGTON — Accused Sen. Bob Menendez, DN.J., is considering running for re-election as an independent in November, two sources who have spoken directly to him told NBC News.

Menendez facing off with his wife Nadine Menendez 18 federal number and accused of accepting bribes, has yet to announce publicly that he will run again this year; his term expires in January.

Strong New Jersey Democrat fell down He was removed as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee after the initial indictment, but rejected calls to resign.

Sources said he is now making calls to allies about his record and career and is preparing to file to run as an independent candidate in November. If Menendez were to run as a Democrat, he would have until March 25 to collect 1,000 signatures — so time is not on his side. But running independently would give him more time; in this case, he only needs 800 signatures by June 4 to appear on the ballot.

A visibly frustrated Menendez said several times when asked by NBC News Thursday afternoon, “I don’t have to declare what I did. Everyone will know when I do it.”

Several New Jersey Democrats have already filed to run, including Menendez’s seat Rap Andy Kim and of the state ffirst lname, Tammy Murphy. The primary elections of the Democratic Party will be held on June 4.

Kim told NBC News that Menendez running as an independent is “another clear example of putting personal gain over what is right for this country.”

“There is no way he can win this seat,” he said. “But what he can do is threaten that seat and give Republicans a chance.”

Kim, the second member of Congress to call for Menendez’s resignation, claimed he was the strongest Democrat to win the seat “as someone who won Trump’s district twice.”

Murphy did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

One of Menendez’s most vocal Democratic critics sarcastically encouraged him to run as an independent.

Bob Menendez listens during the hearing.
Sen. Bob Menendez, DN.J., at a hearing in Washington on Oct. 4. Eric Lee/Bloomberg via Getty Images file

“I dare him. Continue. Go ahead, dude,” said Sen. John Fetterman, D-Pa., who endorsed Kim. “If this nasty ball wants to draw 7%, go right ahead. And it’s going to be weird trying to campaign while you’re in court.”

Menendez and his wife are charged with bribery of a foreign government, acting as a foreign agent and conspiracy to obstruct justice, among other charges. They denied the charges and pleaded not guilty.

U.S. District Judge Sidney Stein on Thursday rejected Menendez’s attempt to dismiss the charges against him on the basis of legislative immunity, which he said prevents members of Congress from being prosecuted for certain actions in the speech or debate clause of the Constitution.

“Menendez’s motion is denied to the extent it seeks dismissal of the charges due to the Speech or Debate Clause,” Stein said in an opinion.

The trial is scheduled to begin on May 6.

Menendez’s bills are mounting, and he can only raise money if he’s on the ballot, sources said. Using campaign funds to pay legal fees is not unheard of; committees affiliated with former President Donald Trump spent about 50 million dollars raking in the cash in legal fees last year, NBC News previously reported.

Menendez’s son, Rep. Rob Menendez, D-N.J., has also said he will run for re-election to the House. The younger Menendez did not appear in the case against his father.

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