‘A Free For All’: Challengers Lining Up To Take On Bob Menendez

Getty Images/Anna Moneymaker

Daily Caller News Foundation logo
Arjun Singh Contributor
Font Size:

Several challengers are planning a run for Senate after incumbent Democratic Sen. Robert Menendez of New Jersey was indicted on federal corruption charges on Sept. 22, according to multiple reports.

Menendez, who has been charged with bribery, fraud and extortion related to his alleged use of political power to steer U.S. policy in Egypt’s favor in exchange for gifts, has seen his popularity tumble following the indictment, with his approval rating dropping to merely 8% in a recent poll. This decline, as well as calls from dozens of Democratic elected officials for Menendez to resign, has prompted several political figures to consider running for his seat, according to Politico. (RELATED: Bob Menendez’s Approval Rating Drops To Single Digits Following Bribery Indictment: POLL)

Democratic Rep. Andy Kim of New Jersey’s 3rd district, who was one of the first officials to demand Menendez’s resignation, announced his Senate campaign for Menendez’s seat one day after he was indicted. Kim served in the Obama administration as a civilian adviser in Afghanistan to U.S. generals David Petraeus and John Allen, as well as on the National Security Council.

New Jersey Democratic Primary Poll by Daily Caller News Foundation on Scribd

“After calls to resign, Senator Menendez said ‘I am not going anywhere.’ As a result, I feel compelled to run against him. It’s not something I expected to do, but NJ deserves better. We cannot jeopardize the Senate or compromise our integrity,” Kim wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter, to announce his campaign.

Recent polling shows Kim overwhelmingly leading Menendez and other potential candidates in the Democratic primary, with Kim receiving 42% support compared to Menendez’s 5%, according to a poll by Public Policy Polling on behalf of End Citizens United.

Another candidate included in that poll was First Lady Tammy Murphy of New Jersey. Murphy has allegedly been seeking campaign staff ahead of an announcement of her candidacy for the seat, according to a report by Politico.

Murphy has never held elected office before but would benefit from her husband’s status and their joint wealth. Both Murphys worked for Goldman Sachs for decades before Phil Murphy retired to enter politics, with his net worth exceeding several hundred million dollars, according to a report by Der Spiegel.

Polling shows Tammy Murphy receiving 19% support in the state’s Democratic primary in a three-way race with Kim and Menendez, though 34% of voters remain undecided. Menendez has not indicated whether he will seek reelection.

Among Republicans, Rep. Jeff Van Drew of New Jersey’s 2nd district is reported to be considering a run for the seat, according to a report by the Press of Atlantic City. Van Drew attracted attention in 2019 when he switched parties from Democratic to Republican.

Former Republican Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey, who is running for president, has also been touted as a candidate for the seat. Polling shows that Christie would lose to Kim if the latter is the Democratic nominee in a general election, but would narrowly defeat Menendez by 3%.

In a statement to the Daily Caller News Foundation, a spokesperson for Christie shared remarks where he said that he had “no interest in being in the United States Senate” and ruled out the possibility of a run.

The number of candidates is likely to increase, according to experts. It will be a “free for all,” said Democratic Rep. Bill Pascrell of New Jersey to Politico.

Murphy, Kim and Van Drew campaigns did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

All content created by the Daily Caller News Foundation, an independent and nonpartisan newswire service, is available without charge to any legitimate news publisher that can provide a large audience. All republished articles must include our logo, our reporter’s byline and their DCNF affiliation. For any questions about our guidelines or partnering with us, please contact licensing@dailycallernewsfoundation.org.