Democratic Rep. Andy Kim of New Jersey announced Saturday he will challengefor his Senate seat next year.
"After calls to resign, Senator Menendez said 'I am not going anywhere,'" Kim said in a post on social media. "As a result, I feel compelled to run against him. Not something I expected to do, but NJ deserves better. We cannot jeopardize the Senate or compromise our integrity."
Menendez and his wife Nadine were indicted Friday, accused of accepting hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes from roughly 2018 to 2022 in exchange for using his power and influence as a senator to enrich and protect three businessmen and benefit Egypt's government. The 39-page indictment alleges that the bribes included cash, gold bars, mortgage payments, compensation for a "low-or-no-show-job," a luxury vehicle and "other things of value."
Federal agents found more than $480,000 in cash during a search of the couple's home in June 2022, "much of it stuffed into envelopes and hidden in clothing, closets, and a safe," as well as over $70,000 in a safe deposit box belonging to Nadine Menendez. They also found gold bars worth more than $100,000, according to the indictment. Envelopes of cash were allegedly found in jackets with Menendez's name that were hanging in his closet, and prosecutors included photos of some of the cash and two of the gold bars they say were seized.
As Kim noted, Menendez rejected calls from Kim and others to resign, chalking up those calls to racism.
"It is not lost on me how quickly some are rushing to judge a Latino and push him out of his seat," Menendez said in his statement.
Kim, who represents the Third Congressional District, was the first member of New Jersey's congressional delegation to call for Menendez' resignation Friday. He's on the House Armed Services and House Foreign Affairs committees.
Elected in 2018, Kim is serving his second term in the House. His congressional website says that he has previously worked in several departments: USAID, the Pentagon, the State Department and the White House National Security Council. He was also an adviser to former Gens. David Petraeus and John Allen in Afghanistan.
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