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September 24, 2023

New Jersey Senator Bob Menendez to face 2024 primary challenge following bribery indictment

N.J. Rep Andy Kim announced that he's running against the embattled lawmaker amidst growing calls for his resignation

U.S. Representative Andy Kim will challenge fellow New Jersey Democrat Bob Menendez for his Senate seat in the 2024 primary election, Kim announced. Menendez has faced growing calls for his resignation after he was indicted on bribery charges on September 22.

Kim revealed his plan to run against Menendez in a post on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, on Saturday after the embattled senator said he wasn't planning on resigning, despite being implored by several prominent leaders to do so.  New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy, Pennsylvania Senator John Fetterman and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez are just three of the more prominent members of Menendez's own party that have called on him to resign in recent days. Nearly all of the Democrats representing New Jersey in Congress have called on him to resign as well, according to USA Today

"I feel compelled to run against him," Kim said in the social media post announcing his plans to run against Menendez. "Not something I expected to do, but NJ deserves better. We cannot jeopardize the Senate or compromise our integrity."

Last Friday, Menendez was indicted along with his wife Nadine for allegedly accepting bribes in exchange for political influence benefitting three businessmen and the Egyptian government. The couple allegedly took cash, gold bars, mortgage payments and a luxury car, the U.S. Attorney's Office in Manhattan said.

Menendez and his wife are charged with conspiracy to commit bribery, conspiracy to commit honest services fraud, and conspiracy to commit extortion under color of official right. If convicted, Menendez could face up to 20 years in prison. 

This is not the first time Menendez has been indicted on federal corruption charges. In 2015, the U.S. Attorney's Office in New Jersey accused him of receiving more than $600,000 in political contributions and other bribes from Salomon Melgen, a wealthy ophthalmologist in Florida, in exchange for political favors. That case concluded in a mistrial in 2017. 

After last week's indictment, Menendez claimed the charges were politically and vowed to stay in office. He has been in the Senate since 2006.