Bob Menendez circulating petition to get on independent ballot

By Jen Krausz on
 May 27, 2024

New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez (D) has reportedly been passing around a petition that would allow him to appear on an independent ballot in November.

The New Jersey Globe reported that Menendez is trying to get signatures from 800 registered voters in the state so that he could get on the ballot as an independent.

The indictment

Menendez said he would not seek re-election on the Democrat ticket after he was indicted for taking bribes from three New Jersey businessmen in November. One of the businessmen has flipped on Menendez and will testify against him at the trial.

He stepped down from his chairmanship of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee after the indictment, but has refused to resign his seat even when many Democrat politicians in his state asked him to do so.

Additional charges were added to the indictment in January, alleging he took bribes and gifts from the Qatari royal family in exchange for speaking positively about Qatar.

A raid on his home found almost $500,000 in cash, gold bars, and luxury gifts such as watches and a Mercedes-Benz. His wife Nadine is being tried separately from him, but her trial has been delayed due to a breast cancer diagnosis and the need for immediate treatment for the disease.

The trial on Menendez's charges started May 13 and is underway. On a recent day in court, jurors passed around a bag containing gold bars that were seized from the Menendez home.

Deadline looming

The deadline for Menendez to get the signatures is June 4, just days away.

Although the senator undoubtedly still has the support of some constituents in the state, his independent candidacy could be a spoiler that turns the seat Republican as he and the Democrat candidate split the Democrat votes.

It is unlikely that Menendez would win as an independent, but he could use his candidacy as a bargaining chip to stay in his seat longer.

If he does manage to get on the ballot, he could still withdraw by August 16.

His position as a candidate has been diminished not only by the indictment, but by a his cash position since then.

He reportedly had $8.5 million cash on hand before the indictment, but now has only $3.5 million according to a recent filing.

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