• Tue. Jun 25th, 2024

Andy Kim wins New Jersey primary for scandal-scarred Bob Menendez’s seat

Andy Kim wins New Jersey primary for scandal-scarred Bob Menendez's seat

Rep. Andy Kim rolled to an easy win Tuesday in New Jersey’s Democratic primary for scandal-scarred U.S. Sen. Robert Mendendez’s seat, while Rep. Rob Menendez, Jr. turned aside a challenge to his own reelection.

Kim declared victory after results showed him winning with more than 80% of the vote over two little-known progressive opponents.

“We built a stunningly powerful grassroots movement that … changed NJ politics forever,” he tweeted as the lopsided results piled up. “Now we are ready to take our movement for change to the US Senate.”

Kim was set to face Republican Curtis Bashaw after the South Jersey businessman and establishment favorite easily defeated Christine Serrano-Glassner, a right-wing insurgent endorsed by former President Donald Trump.

Kim will be a heavy favorite in November to become the first Korean-American U.S. senator in history given the Garden State’s strong Democratic lean. But Sen. Menendez could make things interesting after filing to run as an independent despite facing a federal trial on bribery and corruption charges.

His son Rep. Menendez, who has sought to distance himself from his allegedly corrupt dad, won by a healthy margin over Hoboken Mayor Ravi Bhalla in the Democratic primary for the deep-blue Hudson County-based district that was a springboard for the elder Menendez’s political career.

With more than half of the expected votes counted, Menendez held a nearly 20% lead over Bhalla, according to The New York Times.

Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., arrives at federal court, Tuesday, May 28, 2024. (AP Photo/Ted Shaffrey)
Sen. Robert Menendez arrives at federal court on May 28. (AP Photo/Ted Shaffrey)

Menendez Jr., who enjoyed the backing of New Jersey’s Democratic machine, racked up big margins in heavily Latino Union City and West New York while Bhalla held his own in his stronghold of Hoboken and Jersey City, where reform-minded newcomers make up a bigger share of the electorate.

The Democratic races were the first ones to be held using a more neutral ballot design after a federal judge banned the previous format, which gave candidates endorsed by the party’s powerful machine much more prominent positions.

In the presidential race, Trump was unopposed, meaning there was no way to assess any possible impact from his recent conviction in the Manhattan hush money trial.

President Biden rolled up a 91% margin in the Democratic primary, with about 10% voting uncommitted as a pro-Palestinian protest vote that has cut into his performance throughout the campaign.

In the blue-leaning NJ-03 district in central New Jersey, state Rep. Herb Conaway won the Democratic nomination to succeed Kim.

With News Wire Services

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