Rob Menendez Wins New Jersey House Primary Amid Father’s Bribery Trial

Rob Menendez Wins New Jersey House Primary Amid Father’s Bribery Trial
Rob Menendez, son of the current U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez, greets supporters while holding his daughter, after voting in Jersey City, N.J., on June 7, 2022. (Seth Wenig/AP Photo)

Rep. Rob Menendez, son of Senator Bob Menendez, has won the hotly contested Democratic primary nomination to serve another term in his House seat representing New Jersey’s 8th Congressional District, according to The Associated Press.

The younger Menendez, 38, who is running for a second term in Congress, defeated rival Hoboken Mayor Ravi Bhalla with approximately 53.7 percent of the vote, according to the news agency.

With 84 percent of the votes counted, Mayor Bhalla, a former civil rights lawyer, won roughly 36 percent of the vote, AP reported. A third candidate, real estate executive Kyle Jasey, won around 11 percent of the vote.

The Associated Press called the race at 9:19 p.m. ET.

Mr. Menendez, an attorney, was first elected to serve in northern New Jersey’s 8th District, which includes parts of Elizabeth, Jersey City, and Newark, in 2022, succeeding Albio Sires.

He previously served as a commissioner at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

Speaking to supporters on stage at an event in New Jersey after his win on Tuesday, Mr. Menendez touted the work of his campaign team, telling the crowd that he had “built a coalition that could withstand some of the most vile things that could be thrown at a candidate.”

“We didn’t just deal with ads, we dealt with straight-up lies, we dealt with whatever you could throw at someone and we withstood it all and we are here tonight victorious,” he said.

Mr. Menendez’s comments appeared to reference his rivals’s criticism of his father, who is facing a string of legal battles and is currently on trial for federal bribery charges.

Senator Menendez Charged in Federal Corruption Trial

Senator Menendez and his wife were charged with conspiracy to commit bribery, conspiracy to commit honest services wire fraud, and conspiracy to commit extortion in September 2023.

According to prosecutors, the couple accepted bribes, including mortgage payments, gold bars, and a Mercedes-Benz C-300 convertible, from New Jersey businessmen Jose Uribe, Wael Hana, and Fred Daibes, in return for performing actions that benefit the three men.

They were then slapped with additional charges—conspiracy to obstruct justice and obstruction of justice—in March after prosecutors accused them of attempting to conceal their alleged bribery scheme.

The senator and his wife have pleaded not guilty to the charges.

However, amid the younger Menendez’s campaign, America’s Promise PAC, a group supporting Mayor Bhalla for the 8th congressional district, launched a television advert in which they stated: “They say the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, so it’s no wonder that Rob Menendez is defending his father’s corruption.”

The same advert also accused the congressman of being “rotten to the core.”

The younger Menendez is not involved in the legal trial and has not been linked to any of the charges against his father.

The criticism amid his father’s legal troubles appeared to have little impact on Mr. Menendez’s campaign.

In a statement on social media late on Tuesday, Mr. Menendez again thanked his supporters from the 8th Congressional District from “the bottom of my heart.”

“We always said we would do this together and we did,” he wrote on X. “Tonight was a great success, but the work continues on tomorrow and we will continue to fight for and deliver for all the residents of our incredible district.”

NTD Photo
Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) departs Manhattan Federal Court in New York City on May 14, 2024. (Alex Kent/AFP via Getty Images)

Menendez Running as Independent

Elsewhere on Tuesday, Rep. Andy Kim won the New Jersey Democratic Senate primary and will appear on the November general election ballot to fill the U.S. Senate seat currently held by Sen. Menendez.

If he secures enough votes in November, Mr. Kim would be the first Korean American to be elected to the U.S. Senate.

Meanwhile, Republican real estate developer Curtis Bashaw, who is self-funding his campaign, won the GOP primary for Senate after defeating candidates that included Mendham Borough Mayor Christine Serrano Glassner, who was endorsed by former President Donald Trump.

With 62 percent of Democrat votes counted, Mr. Kim led by 60 percentage points while Mr. Bashaw led by 18 percent with 53 percent of the Republican votes counted.

Mr. Menendez dropped out of the Democrat race in March because of his ongoing federal corruption trial. However, on Monday, he filed nominating petitions with enough signatures to get on the ballot and seek a fourth term, this time as an independent.

T.J. Muscaro and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

From The Epoch Times

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