New Jersey Democratic Rep. Andy Kim has announced a primary challenge to New Jersey Senator Bob Menendez, citing the state’s senior Senator’s refusal to resign.
“After calls to resign, Senator Menendez said ‘I am not going anywhere.’ As a result, I feel compelled to run against him,” Kim, a three-term Congressman said in a statement.
“This is not something I expected to do, but I believe New Jersey deserves better. We cannot jeopardize the Senate or compromise our country’s integrity. I believe it’s time we restore faith in our democracy, and that’s why I am stepping up and running for Senate.”
Kim, who represented Toms River prior to redistricting, was first elected to Congress in 2018 and is the first Asian American elected to federal office from New Jersey.
In 2018 and 2020, Andy defeated two self-funded millionaires in a district carried by former President Trump, and in 2022, despite being considered by many to be in danger of losing in a redrawn district, Kim defeated his Republican opponent by 12 points.
On Friday, Kim was the first Democrat politician in the state to call for Menendez to resign, after the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York announced the indictment.
Later in the day, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy, as well as many other Democrats in the state, likewise called on the Menendez to resign.
For his part, Menendez has refused to step down and issued a second statement, doubling down on his first.
“Those who believe in justice believe in innocence until proven guilty. I intend to continue to fight for the people of New Jersey with the same success I’ve had for the past five decades,” Menendez said.
“This is the same record of success these very same leaders have lauded all along. It is not lost on me how quickly some are rushing to judge a Latino and push him out of his seat. I am not going anywhere,” he added.
If Menendez were to resign, Governor Murphy would appoint a replacement to the position.