Menendez to announce reelection bid months after corruption trial

Sen. Bob MenendezRobert (Bob) MenendezGOP’s Obama-era probes fuel Senate angst Government watchdog: ‘No evidence’ Pompeo violated Hatch Act with Kansas trips No time to be selling arms to the Philippines MORE (D-N.J.) is set to seek a third term in office, an announcement that comes nearly two months after federal prosecutors moved to drop corruption charges against him.

Menendez is set to kick off the reelection bid on Wednesday, and plans to hold events in Union City and southern New Jersey, The Associated Press reported. He’s expected to be joined at the events by Sen. Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerRand Paul introduces bill to end no-knock warrants Black lawmakers unveil bill to remove Confederate statues from Capitol Harris grapples with defund the police movement amid veep talk MORE (D-N.J.) and New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D).

Menendez was indicted in 2015 for allegedly accepting lavish gifts and campaign donations from a wealthy Florida eye doctor in exchange for using his office to perform political favors.


That case went to trial in the fall of 2017, but ultimately ended when jurors deadlocked and couldn’t reach a verdict. 

For more than two months after that, it remained unclear whether federal prosecutors would seek to retry Menendez. On Jan. 31, they moved to dismiss the charges against the senator.

Menendez, who repeatedly denied any wrongdoing in the case, said the decision to dismiss the charges was “appropriate.”

“From the very beginning, I never wavered in my innocence and my belief that justice would prevail,” he said at the time. “I am grateful that the Department of Justice has taken the time to reevaluate its case and come to the appropriate conclusion.”

Even as he faced trial, Menendez insisted that he intended to seek reelection in 2018. Despite the dropped charges, he still faces investigation by the Senate Ethics Committee. 

The announcement of Menendez’s reelection bid drew immediate fire from the Republican Party’s Senate campaign arm.

“A federal jury was unable to come to a decision on disgraced Senator Bob Menendez’s corruption case, but New Jersey voters will have the final word,” Bob Salera, a spokesman for the National Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee, said in a statement.

A survey released earlier this month by Quinnipiac University showed Menendez leading his Republican challenger, Bob Hugin, but 17 points. 

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