Rep. Andy Kim (D-N.J.) announced Saturday that he will primary Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) after the senator was indicted on corruption charges Friday.
“After calls to resign, Senator Menendez said ‘I am not going anywhere.’ As a result, I feel compelled to run against him,” Kim said on X, formerly Twitter. “Not something I expected to do, but NJ deserves better.”
Kim was the second member of Congress and first from New Jersey to call on Menendez to resign Friday. A growing list of Democrats, headlined by Gov. Phil Murphy (D-N.J.), have asked Menendez to step down.
“I believe more than ever that New Jersey needs hard working, trustworthy leaders focused on the common good and injecting some integrity and civility back into our politics,” Kim wrote in his announcement, sharing a link to his donations page. “We cannot jeopardize the Senate or compromise our integrity any longer.
“Help me build a movement to restore faith in our democracy,” he added.
Prosecutors allege that Menendez and his wife accepted over $600,000 in bribes from a group of New Jersey businessmen to help them and interests in Egypt.
“These allegations are serious and alarming. It doesn’t matter what your job title is or your politics — no one in America is above the law,” Kim said in a statement to The Hill on Friday. “The people of New Jersey absolutely need to know the truth of what happened, and I hope the judicial system works thoroughly and quickly to bring this truth to light.”
"It is not lost on me how quickly some are rushing to judge a Latino and push him out of his seat," he wrote in a statement in response to Democratic officials who have publicly broken with him. "I am not going anywhere."
Menendez was appointed to the Senate in January 2006 by then-Gov. Jon Corzine, who previously held the seat and had just taken office in Trenton. The senator was elected to a full term later that year and reelected in 2012 and 2018.
And Menendez is up for reelection next year, creating a politically-perilous situation where he could stand trial while also campaigning for a fourth full term in office — a scenario many Democrats would prefer not to see unfold.