Indicted Senator Bob Menendez Will Formally Run As An Independent In Reelection Bid

( — New Jersey Democrat Senator Bob Menendez, who is in the midst of a federal corruption trial in Manhattan, will be seeking reelection in November as an independent candidate.

A friend of the embattled three-term senator filed nominating petitions that included more than two thousand signatures with the New Jersey Division of Elections in Trenton on Monday for Menendez to run as an independent candidate in the 2024 election.

The New Jersey Democrat had been circulating the petitions last month with the help of a group of friends from his earlier campaigns. Menendez is planning to manage his reelection campaign himself and reportedly has no staff.

Menendez announced in late March that he would not run in the Democratic primary, where he would face New Jersey three-term Congressman Andy Kim, who announced after Menendez was indicted last fall that he would challenge the embattled senator for the Democrat nomination.

However, Menendez made it clear at the time that he was considering running as an independent if he was exonerated by a jury.

While Menendez’s corruption trial is expected to last through June, filing the petitions now would preserve his option to run as an independent once the verdict is reached. If he is found guilty, Menendez would have until August 16 to withdraw from the race.

If acquitted, Menendez’s presence on the November ballot could put the solidly blue Senate seat in play for the first time in more than two decades, as he would likely split the Democrat vote and serve as a spoiler for Rep. Kim.

Speaking to reporters on his way to trial on Monday, Menendez said that filing to run as an independent did not mean that he was changing his party registration. In the documents filed with the Division of Elections, Menendez listed his party as “Menendez for Senate.”

The senator could face challenges to his nominating petitions, depending on the number of signatures he obtained.

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