Timestamp: Saturday afternoon.
I included a timestamp because this is a dynamic situation, or at least I hope it is! I am calling on New Jersey Democratic Senator Robert Menendez to resign. There you have it plain and clear, up front.
I believe in the principle of innocent until proven guilty but that does not entitle anyone to a Senate seat. When law enforcement finds $500,000 in cash and $100,000 in gold bars in your house it’s difficult to have the appearance of being clean as fresh snow!
Menendez was last elected in 2018. In the run up to that election I called on him not to run because he was under federal indictment which he only “escaped” by virtue of a mistrial. While my call supersedes politics, the reality is that Menendez’s seat is up in 2024.
The seat is considered safe but if Menendez is the candidate while he is being tried that becomes much less of a sure thing in a year where the Democrats are already defending many difficult to hold seats.
Menendez’s chances in court look slim at this point. The evidence is much more than what he alluded to as the normal operation of a congressional office. As of this writing Menendez has remained defiant stating, “I am not going anywhere.” Those kinds of antics may work well for Donald Trump but Menendez is not a Republican and New Jersey is not a Trump state.
If Menendez were to resign now New Jersey’s Democratic Governor, Phil Murphy, (who has already called for Menendez’s resignation), would appoint the replacement to serve out the term. That incumbent would be the odds-on favorite to win election next year. If Menendez stays and chooses to run for reelection, he will almost undoubtedly face a primary challenge and lose. Is that the way he wants to go out? Should he win the seat goes from almost a sure thing to a real battle costing precious dollars that the Democrats would not be able to spend elsewhere.
I haven’t look at the most likely replacements for Menendez, but New Jersey’s Democratic bench is very deep so whomever Murphy picked would be the overwhelming favorite in 2024 and the seat would stay in the Democrats’ column.
Bad office holders have to go regardless of political party! Fortunately, as a Democrat I don’t see as many of my people going as the other side would lose under my proposal and getting rid of our nogoodniks only prevents the Republicans from playing whataboutism.
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