U.S. Rep. Andy Kim (D-NJ) has launched his bid to unseat Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) in 2024 as the latter faces allegations of bribery.
What he is saying: Kim, 41, currently represents New Jersey’s 3rd Congressional District. In an X post Saturday, he said he felt “compelled” to run against Menendez after the senator insisted that he is “not going anywhere” amid mounting calls for his resignation.
“Not something I expected to do, but NJ deserves better,” Kim wrote. “We cannot jeopardize the Senate or compromise our integrity.”
Menendez’ charges: Menendez, who has held his post since 2006, was indicted Friday alongside his wife, Nadine, by the U.S. attorney’s office for the Southern District of New York. Their charges include conspiracy to commit bribery, conspiracy to commit honest services fraud and conspiracy to commit extortion under color of official right.
In exchange for his influence, the senator allegedly accepted “hundreds of thousands of dollars of bribes” in cash, gold bars, mortgage payments, a luxury vehicle and other items of value to benefit three businessmen in his state. Additionally, he is accused of using his power to benefit the Egyptian government by handing them out “sensitive U.S. government information.”
What Menendez is saying: Menendez denies the allegations. In a press conference today, he said the cash seized by federal authorities from his home were personal savings.
I have withdrawn thousands of dollars in cash from my personal savings account, what I have kept for emergencies and because of the history of my family facing confiscation in Cuba,” Menendez told
reporters. “Now this may seem old-fashioned but these were monies drawn from my personal savings account based on the income that I have lawfully derived.”
Similar allegations: This is not the first time Menendez was accused of receiving bribes. In 2015, he faced similar charges over a bribery scheme involving a wealthy ophthalmologist, but a judge ultimately declared a mistrial after a deadlocked jury.
Kim, who made headlines in 2021 for helping clean the Capitol in the aftermath of Jan. 6
, cruised to a third term in the House last year. His potential rivals reportedly include Reps. Josh Gottheimer (D-N.J.) and Mikie Sherrill (D-N.J.).