Rep. Andy Kim (D-N.J.) announced Saturday that he would challenge indicted Sen. Bob Menendez, becoming the first major intraparty challenger to emerge since Menendez insisted he would face the allegations After accepting bribes from three businessmen, I will not resign.
“After calls to resign, Senator Menendez said, ‘I’m not going anywhere,'” Kim said wrote on the social media site formerly known as Twitter. “That’s why I feel compelled to compete against him. I didn’t expect this, but New Jersey deserves better. We cannot compromise the Senate or compromise our integrity.”
Following the Justice Department’s quashing of charges against Menendez on Friday, leading New Jersey Democrats, including Gov. Phil Murphy, have called for him to resign from office. Menendez had previously been charged in a separate corruption scandal, but the Justice Department dropped the charges after a hung jury resulted in a mistrial in 2017.
In a statement Friday evening, Menendez angrily dismissed calls for him to resign from office.
“It’s not lost on me how quickly some people judge a Latino and push him out of his place,” he said. “I do not go anywhere.”
Kim, now in his third term, may not be the only Democrat interested in challenging Menendez, and a resignation would almost certainly lead to a crowded primary in safely Democratic New Jersey. Reps. Mikie Sherrill and Josh Gottheimer could also enter the contest.
Menendez, who has not officially announced his intention to run for re-election, also has two lesser-known challengers from the Republican Party: consulting firm owner Shirley Maia-Cusick and Christine Serrano Glassner, the mayor of suburban Mendham Borough.