Menendez could be spoiler if he runs as independent

By Jen Krausz on
 April 16, 2024

Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ), who has said he won't run for re-election as a Democrat in 2024 due to bribery allegations, could be a spoiler in the race if he runs as an independent candidate according to new polling.

Menendez and his wife are accused of taking cash and gifts from several businessmen with ties to Egypt in exchange for favors.

He has ignored calls from both sides to step down from his seat now, and said that if he is exonerated in court, he might run as an independent candidate.

A Fairleigh Dickinson University poll released Monday showed state Rep. Andy Kim beating either Republican running for the seat in the comfortably Democrat state, but that lead narrows to just six points if Menendez enters the race, with at least 10% undecided.

If he does manage to get exonerated, his support could strengthen and cut the lead further. Democrats need to maintain the seat if they hope to retain their majority in the chamber next year.

“Despite all of his legal problems, Menendez still has a base, and if he’s on the ballot, that base is going to come out for him,” poll director Dan Cassino said.