Although New Jersey is a state typically dominated by Democrats, Republicans may have an opportunity to steal a U.S. Senate seat.

Rep. Andy Kim (D-NJ) won the New Jersey Democrat Primary for the U.S. Senate, but he could face an unlikely opponent in November.

Incumbent Sen. Bob Menendez, who faces trial on federal bribery charges, filed Monday to run for re-election as an independent.

NBC News reports:

NBC News had reported that Menendez had gathered enough signatures to run as an independent for another term in the Senate as he faces a trial on federal bribery charges. He filed one day before the state’s deadline for independent candidates, allowing him to collect fewer signatures and still make the ballot; the deadline to run as a Democrat has long passed.

The New Jersey Globe first reported that Menendez planned to file Monday. In the end, he filed just over 2,000 signatures, a source told NBC News.

Menendez’s decision also allows him to continue to raise and spend campaign funds on legal fees in the ongoing corruption trial. He pleaded not guilty and has denied any wrongdoing.

Rep. Andy Kim is the front-runner for the Democratic nomination in the primary Tuesday. Kim has warned that Menendez’s running as an independent could put the deep-blue state in play in November.

If Menendez stays in the race, it would certainly make things interesting in New Jersey for Republicans.

“Curtis Bashaw has won the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate in New Jersey, defeating a candidate endorsed by Donald Trump. He will face Democrat Andy Kim — and independent Bob Menendez — in the fall,” The New Jersey Globe Editor David Wildstein said.

From The Hill:

Real estate developer Curtis Bashaw will win the GOP nomination for Senate in New Jersey, according to a projection from Decision Desk HQ.

Bashaw defeated Mendham Borough Mayor Christine Serrano Glassner and two other candidates for the nomination. Despite not having the endorsement of former President Trump, who backed Serrano Glassner, Bashaw had the support of most of the county Republican parties in the state, which is particularly influential in New Jersey.


Kim, 41, is still heavily favored to become New Jersey’s next U.S. Senator in a state that hasn’t elected a Republican to the upper house in 52 years. But now he may have to campaign against two opponents this summer and fall: the Republican nominee and Menendez, who could not be reached for comment but said Monday he intends to run on his long record in Congress.

It’s a turn of events few would have seen coming before Menendez’s sprawling indictment in September on charges that include bribery, obstruction of justice and acting as an unregistered foreign agent. But as New Jersey Democrats played the devastating news cautiously, Kim took a chance.

On the day federal prosecutors announced Menendez’s indictment, Kim became the first major Democrat in the state to call on him to resign, beating out the state’s political establishment by hours. The following day, Kim announced his campaign for Senate. It was almost two months before another major Democrat, first lady Tammy Murphy, announced her own candidacy for the seat.

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