Bob Menendez Running for Senate as Independent in Potential Spoiler Bid: Report

Disgraced senator allegedly traded political favors for gold bars and other bribes

(Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Disgraced Sen. Bob Menendez (D., N.J.), who has faced four federal indictments on bribery charges, plans to file for reelection as an independent, according to a New Jersey Globe report.

Due to his legal restraints, Menendez will be at trial in Manhattan, so he is not able to deliver the petitions needed to get on the ballot by the Tuesday afternoon deadline. Instead, “a friend” of his will deliver them, the Globe reported. Menendez and a “group of old friends” including Matteo Perez Sr. helped gather signatures while the senator was wrapped up in court proceedings. He has no campaign staff and is managing his own race.

Menendez’s independent bid could spell trouble for Democrats working to retain the Senate seat in deep-blue New Jersey. Menendez would have to garner around 8 percentage points in the general election to potentially tip the race to the Republicans, the outlet noted.

The senator and his wife, Nadine Menendez, who is undergoing treatment for breast cancer, were charged in September with allegedly trading political favors to the Egyptian government and three businessmen for financial gains.

An FBI raid in September on the couple’s $1.2 million house found $480,000 in cash—”much of it stuffed into envelopes and hidden in clothing, closets, and a safe”—along with gold bars worth around $100,000.

New Jersey first lady Tammy Murphy (D.) and New Jersey Rep. Andy Kim (D.) launched primary bids to unseat Menedez last year after the news of his bribery charges. After a tumultuous campaign riddled with accusations of nepotism and tepid support from her voter base, Murphy suspended her short bid in March. This allowed Kim to position himself as the presumptive Democratic nominee and Menendez to announce later in March that he would no longer be seeking the Democratic nomination. He kept the door open, however, on an independent run.

New Jersey primary elections take place on Tuesday. Christine Serrano Glassner (R.) received former president Trump’s endorsement, and Curtis Bashaw (R.) is another contender for the Republican nomination.

While Menendez has faced four federal indictments and bipartisan calls for him to resign from the Senate, his attorney Avi Weitzman defended him during his trial this month, calling Menendez “an American patriot.”

“[Menendez] did not violate the law. Period. And the United States Attorney’s Office allegations otherwise [are] wrong. Dead wrong,” Weitzman said in his opening statement. “Far from a bribe taker, Senator Menendez is a lifelong public servant.”

Menendez’s lawyer also said the senator was not aware of the cash and gold bars in his closet and blamed his wife for “[keeping] him in the dark about what she was asking others to give her.”

The embattled senator, however, has not curtailed his lavish lifestyle as he continues to fight for his career in elected office.

The Democrat’s New Millennium Political Action Committee used campaign donations to cover his eight bills totaling $7,012.51 this year at Morton’s Steakhouse in Washington, D.C., the senator’s latest campaign finance records show, according to the Daily Beast.

Menendez also shelled out thousands more from his donor funds at other restaurants, including $1,489.22 at three New Jersey eateries in January, $1,500.00 at Carmine’s Italian Restaurant in D.C. that same month, and $464.24 at the 116 Club near Capitol Hill on May 6.

Original News Source – Washington Free Beacon

Running For Office? Conservative Campaign Management – Election Day Strategies!