The Menendez probe offers a last-minute surprise in House’s sleepy run in the 8th arrondissement

The quiet race in New Jersey’s 8th congressional district was rocked this week after reports surfaced that Senator Bob Menendez was under federal investigation again.

Menendez’s son, Rob, is the candidate in this district – although with less than two weeks left until Election Day, a majority Democratic district and a Republican opponent who does not mount a real campaign, the young Menendez will probably saving. immediate repercussions of a scandal involving his father, say political observers.

“New Jersey has enough experience with political scandals that we need to see a little bit more on the table before, you know, we’re going to be impressed,” said Micah Rasmussen, director of the Rebovich Institute for New Jersey. Politics at Rider. University.

Rob Menendez, 37, is run for the vacant seat after Representative Albio Sires announced he would retire from Congress after this term. He has never held elected office, but he has led the race for nearly a year, winning the endorsement of many powerful Democrats even before announcing his candidacy.

Asked to comment, Rob Menendez said in a statement that he has “unwavering faith in my father, his long career as a public servant and his reputation for standing up for families in Hudson County and across the state.” .

“In my life I have seen countless detractors who refuse to believe that a son of Hudson County immigrants can become one of the hundred and yet he has consistently proven them wrong. And fortunately, those who know him and what he stood for throughout his career outnumber the naysayers,” Menendez said.

News of the investigation broke on Wednesday. At a Friday event in Port Monmouth to honor the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Sandy, Senator Menendez told reporters he does not know the scope of the investigation but will assist authorities “when and if requested”.

The latest investigation into the senator — federal prosecutors alleged he accepted political contributions and gifts from Dr. Salomon Melgen in exchange for political favors, charges both men denied — did not end his career. Politics. After his trial in that case ended in a hung jury in 2017, Menendez was reelected the following year with 54% of the vote.

In a state plagued by political scandals, powerful party bosses and unexpected comebacks, voters will likely want to know more about the latest investigation before holding it against the elder Menendez, let alone his son, a said Rasmussen.

“We’ve been down this road before, and we’ve been down this road before with Senator Menendez,” he added.

Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute, noted that only a small portion of voters are likely to know about the survey unless they read or watch the news closely, and generally people are watching closely. this type of news is highly partisan.

“If you are a Democrat, you reject it. If you’re a Republican, you could say that’s further proof,” Murray said. “But it does not change anything.”

The 8th district is one of the most democratic in the state. In 2020, Sires won almost three times the votes of his Republican opponent (district lines were then slightly different). Menendez’s young GOP opponent, Marcos Arroyo, does not appear to be campaigning and has not reported raising or spending any money. Rob Menendez has over $400,000 in his war chest.

Murray said Rob Menendez should win by 50-60 points.

“As far as our campaign is concerned, we will treat this story for what it is – a distraction. We continue to engage voters every day as we have since day one and remain focused on the real issues that affect voters. families in the 8th District,” Rob Menendez said.

Arroyo could not be reached for comment.

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