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Indicted Sen. Bob Menendez teases independent re-election run if exonerated

By 37ci3 Mar22,2024

Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez announced Thursday that he is “hopefully” running for a fourth term as an independent in New Jersey as he faces federal bribery charges and hopes to be acquitted before the general election.

Menendez said a nine-minute video The ad, posted Thursday afternoon and then quickly taken down, said he would not seek re-election as a Democrat before Monday’s primary filing date.

“Unfortunately, the current charges, which I am innocent of and will prove, will not allow me to hold such a dialogue and debate with political opponents who have already become the cornerstone of the election campaign. New Jerseyans deserve better than this,” Menendez said.

“I hope that my acquittal will take place this summer and allow me to continue running as an independent Democrat in the general election,” he said.

Menendez, who was first elected in 2006, has denied any wrongdoing in the case, where he faces 18 charges of obstructing justice and accepting bribes in the form of cash, gold bars, luxury cars and more, as well as abusing his position. A power that will benefit Egypt. It was Menendez and his wife he was first charged in September and has since faced additional charges, including obstruction of justice.

Menendez resigned as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee after he was indicted in September. More than 30 of his Democratic colleagues in the Senate, including Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey, have called on Menendez to resign. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has consistently refused to call for Menendez’s resignation, though he said the senator’s behavior was “somewhat below” the standard of the office.

Menendez he was thinking of running as an independent candidate Before Monday’s filing deadline to run in the Democratic primary. Menendez has until June 4, the same day as the primary election, to collect the 800 signatures needed to run as an independent.

Menendez’s Senate bid allows him to continue raising money, and his campaign funds can be used to pay legal expenses. Menendez had a campaign spent 2.3 million dollars on legal fees In the last three months of 2023, the most recent period covered by campaign finance reports, however, his fundraising fell sharply during that period. His campaign ended the year with $6.2 million.

Menendez too created a separate legal defense fund During the last six months of 2023, he collected about $470,000 in July, according to a filing with the Internal Revenue Service.

Democratic Rep. Andy Kim, who ran for Senate shortly after Menendez was indicted last year, he said last week the senator’s potential independent candidacy was “really exciting.”

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

New Jersey First Lady Tammy Murphy, Kim’s primary challenger in the Democratic Senate primary, didn’t share those concerns, telling NBC News after meeting with union members on Sunday: “I haven’t thought about it too much. … I don’t know what he was thinking. I’m really focused on what I’m doing.”

Murphy repeated his calls for Menendez to resign. While he said he is “obviously innocent until proven guilty,” Murphy said Menendez “does not have the moral authority to represent the people of New Jersey at this time.”

Jr., chairman of the Democratic Party of New Jersey. LeRoy Jones said in an interview with NBC News last week that he doubted Menendez would eventually run as an independent, but he wasn’t worried the senator might be a spoiler.

“The senator is focused on defending himself at trial,” Jones said. “And I think it’s primarily about being able to have an adequate defense in whatever decision he makes. Therefore, it does not worry me much at the moment.”

Democrats are in a strong position to retain the Senate seat, given the Garden State’s Democratic tilt. President Joe Biden won New Jersey by 16 percentage points in 2020.

Menendez won re-election in 2018 by 11 points, even as his GOP challenger tried to take advantage of previous bribery and fraud charges. In that case ended in controversy In 2017, the Senate Ethics Committee in 2018 Mendenze “seriously advised” For accepting and failing to disclose gifts from an eye doctor in Florida and using his role to “advance” that doctor’s interests.

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By 37ci3

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