New Jersey Senator Bob Menendez received bad news about his re-election campaign after being indicted on felony charges including fraud, bribery and extortion last month.
Federal prosecutors accused Menendez and his wife of accepting bribes including gold, cash, a luxury vehicle and payments toward a home mortgage by businessmen Wael Hana, Jose Uribe, and Fred Daibes—allegedly in exchange for advancing their interests, as well as those of the Egyptian government, in his powerful role as the chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Menendez has stepped back from the role following the indictment. He and his wife Nadine Arslanian deny all charges against them.
The charges threaten to challenge his re-election campaign, as the Democratic senator is set to face voters in the Garden State in November 2024. Menendez is already facing a challenge from Democratic Representative Andy Kim, who currently represents New Jersey’s Third Congressional District, which spans across the central region of the state.
The campaigns’ latest fundraising reports delivered difficult news to Menendez, as Kim outraised the senator despite only being in the race for one week of the time period covered by the report.
Newsweek reached out to Menendez and Kim’s campaigns for comment via email.
Kim raised $1,174,346 while Menendez raised $919,105 from July 1 to September 30, according to their campaigns’ Federal Election Commission reports for the third quarter. Kim announced his challenge on September 23.
Still, Menendez’s campaign maintains substantially more cash on hand, according to the FEC. Menendez has more than $8.5 million on hand, while Kim has roughly $1.9 million.
“Unbelievably proud we raised about $1M in just the first week. Thank you to every single person standing in this together to build a campaign around integrity,” Kim wrote in a post to X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter, following the release of his fundraising numbers.
With regards to his reelection, Menendez has said he “will announce [a campaign] when it comes time,” NBC News reported. He has rejected calls for his resignation.
Bob Menendez’s Chances of Winning Re-Election: Polls
Polls released following the indictment suggest Kim may have an advantage over Menendez.
A Public Policy Polling survey of 502 likely Democratic primary voters, conducted from October 3 to 4, found that 42 percent supported Kim, while only five percent said they would support Menendez. Another 19 percent of respondents said they would vote for First Lady of New Jersey Tammy Murphy, who has not announced a campaign.
If Menendez loses the primary, he would become the first incumbent senator to lose renomination in more than a decade—since Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman lost the Democratic Primary election in 2006.
Meanwhile, a Public Policy Polling survey of 565 New Jersey voters from September 26 to 27 found Menendez trailing a generic Republican in the November general election, with 74 percent saying they have an unfavorable view of the senator. Kim, however, held a 12-point lead over a generic Republican opponent, the poll found.
The Cook Political Report, which monitors elections across the United States, classifies the New Jersey Senate race as “likely Democrat” meaning it is “not considered competitive at this point,” but could potentially “become engaged.”
Menendez was indicted on charges of bribery, fraud, and making false statements in an unrelated case in 2015, but a jury was deadlocked when the trial took place in 2017, resulting in the judge declaring a mistrial.