Rep. Menendez Wins Primary Despite Father’s Charges


Rep. Rob Menendez (D-NJ) on Tuesday successfully defended against a primary challenge from Hoboken Mayor Ravi Bhalla, setting the stage for a second term even as his father’s criminal indictment casts a shadow over the family.

In the primary for New Jersey’s 8th Congressional District, Menendez secured 53.5% of the vote with 42% of the ballots counted. The Associated Press called the race at 9:19 p.m., just over an hour after the polls closed. 

Menendez faced two Democratic opponents: Bhalla, who obtained 36.2% of the vote, and Kyle Jasey, who finished third with 10.3%. Menendez’s victory positions him as the favorite to win the seat come November, as New Jersey’s 8th Congressional District holds a D+22 rating.

Initially, Menendez was anticipated to secure a second term with ease. However, the landscape shifted after his father, Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ), was indicted for allegedly accepting bribes worth hundreds of thousands of dollars “to use his official position to protect and enrich them and to benefit the Government of Egypt,” according to the indictment. 

Rob Menendez has not been implicated in any wrongdoing nor has he been connected to his father’s case. Nonetheless, Democratic challengers aimed to exploit his father’s legal issues to weaken his position.

Menendez will advance to face Republican Anthony Valdes, who clinched his party’s nomination for the seat unchallenged.

The elder Menendez did not seek reelection as a Democrat for his Senate seat, opting instead to run as an Independent in November. Rep. Andy Kim (D-NJ) secured the Democratic nomination for the Senate race.

Cami Mondeaux
Cami Mondeaux
Congressional Reporter. A Utah native, Cami graduated from Westminster College in Salt Lake City in 2021 and covered state government as a breaking news reporter for KSL News Radio.

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