N.J. Sen. Menendez files for independent reelection run amid federal bribery trial

The Garden State’s senior senator files an independent campaign bid as he is on trial in New York City for bribery and corruption.

Bob Menendez

Senator Bob Menendez, D-N.J., arrives at Manhattan federal court, Tuesday, May 14, 2024, in New York. The 70-year-old Democrat is accused of accepting bribes of gold and cash to use his influence to aid three New Jersey businessmen. (AP Photo/Stefan Jeremiah)

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New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez has decided to run for reelection as an independent.

WHYY News confirmed that Menendez filed the paperwork Monday with the state Division of Elections. He had until 4 p.m. Tuesday to file his petitions with at least 800 signatures. The senior senator, first elected as a Democrat in 2006, collected more than 2,400 signatures, according to a N.J. Department of State spokesperson.

New Jersey Globe was the first to report that Menendez would file the paperwork.

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Menendez bowed out of the Democratic primary last March, leaving the door open for reelection as an independent candidate, based on his acquittal by a federal jury in New York City.

His trial is expected to end in July at the earliest.

Menendez is accused of accepting cash, gold bars, mortgage payments and a $60,000 Mercedes Benz convertible for using his office to perform favors for three businessmen.

Should Menendez be found guilty of the charges, he has until Aug. 16 to withdraw from the election.

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His paperwork was filed a day before New Jersey’s primary, where U.S. Rep. Andy Kim is the frontrunner of the contest. Kim declared his candidacy shortly after Menendez refused to resign after being charged.

In a social media post on Monday, Kim said Menendez “isn’t running for NJ families. He’s running for himself.”

“People are fed up with politicians putting their own personal benefit ahead of what’s right for the country,” he wrote.

Also in the Democratic primary are labor leader Dr. Patricia Campos-Medina and community activist Lawrence Hamm.

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