Indicted Senator’s Reelection Campaign May Ruin Dems’ Chances in Blue State

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( – Indicted Democratic New Jersey Senator Bob Menendez is still running for Senator in New Jersey, despite being currently on trial for corruption and bribery. Observers are closely watching the Garden State as his decision to run as an Independent is giving Republicans a leg up and a possibility of retaking a seat that they haven’t held since the 1980s.

Menendez has been in office since winning an election in 2006. Just a few weeks ago he changed his party affiliation to Independent so that he could run in November for re-election (and use campaign contributions to pay for his legal expenses). Democrat nominee Andy Kim will have to deal with losing some support that would otherwise go to him.

Former chief strategist with the Chris Christie campaign, Mike Duhaime, told corporate press outlets that Menendez “could” be a spoiler candidate for the Democrats, highlighting his popularity among Hispanics and a base of loyal voters.

Polling shows Menendez’s presence in the race tightens the margins significantly. A Fairleigh Dickinson University poll in April showed Kim was ahead of Republican candidate Curtis Bashaw: 48% to 39%. When the poll was expanded to include the option to vote for Menendez, Kim’s lead shrank to just five points: 44% to 39% with 6% going to Menendez.

Emerson College Polling showed Menendez taking 9% of the vote in a theoretical election without a specific Republican or Democrat. That same poll showed that amongst all the New Jersians surveyed, 49% tended to support Democrats while 42% favored Republicans.

Bashaw spokeswoman Jeanette Hoffman told the press that Biden’s “dismal approval ratings” and in-fighting within the party have given Republicans an incredible opportunity to flip the seat. Hoffman also highlighted decades of Democrat control of the state leading to corruption and party politics.

Kim achieved the Democratic nomination on June 4th, winning 75% of all votes. Bashaw took the Republican nomination earning 45% versus a Trump-endorsed candidate who took 38%.

Menendez’s approval rating took major hits following the indictment. He went from having an approval rating of 44% which dropped to 36% following the publication of the charges. Voters think he’s guilty to the tune of 75%, with 63% suggesting resignation.

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