Incumbent Rob Menendez wins primary election in N.J.’s 8th Congressional District

The race was overshadowed by the federal corruption and bribery trial of Menendez’s father, but that did not derail his son’s campaign.

Robert Menendez speaks at a desk

Rep. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., speaks during a House Transportation subcommittee hearing on Amtrak on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, June 6, 2023. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

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In the 8th Congressional District race in North Jersey, incumbent Rob Menendez, the son of Sen. Bob Menendez, defeated challenger Ravi Bhalla, the mayor of Hoboken, and businessman Kyle Jasey.

The 8th Congressional District includes parts of Essex, Hudson and Union counties.

The race was overshadowed by the federal corruption and bribery trial of Menendez’s father, but in the end, the senator’s poor approval ratings and legal troubles did not derail his son’s campaign.

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Menendez, who is married with two young children, focused his campaign on the lives of community members he represents.

During the campaign, Menendez said he never ducked questions about his father’s bribery and corruption charges, but at the same time he never suggested the elder Menendez resign.“There is no playbook for this kind of situation,” he said.

He said voters allowed him to present his case. “I’ve never done anything but be transparent, honest and admit it’s a challenging dynamic,” he said.

Menendez said the key to his victory was focusing on the race in the 8th Congressional District and working to serve his constituents every day.

His campaign focused on issues impacting working families and creating solutions to address affordability, child care, affordable housing and more.

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As a congressman, he co-sponsored the Raise the Wage Act, which would raise the federal minimum wage to $17 an hour by 2027, and the Childcare for Working Families Act, which would help families with child care costs.

Menendez said he is also supporting efforts to provide $65 billion toward addressing the capital needs backlog for public housing, addressing the child care crisis by expanding child care stabilization grants and child care centers and restoring the full SALT deduction.

During the campaign, Menendez’s platform included expanding access to affordable health care by lowering prescription drug prices, supporting community health centers and strengthening protections for individuals with pre-existing conditions.

“We have stayed focused on what our obligations are to our residents,” he said.

Republican Anthony Valdes ran unopposed.

He focused his campaign on fighting inflation and undocumented immigration.

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