News

Elections

Menendez Wins Reelection in New Jersey Despite Corruption Allegations

New Jersey Senator Bob Menendez looks on as Republican candidate Bob Hugin answers a question during a debate in Newark, N.J., October 24, 2018. (Julio Cortez/Pool via Reuters)

Democratic senator Bob Menendez of New Jersey fended off a challenge from Republican Bob Hugin in a tight race that, absent substantial corruption allegations against their nominee, would have certainly been an easy win for Democrats.

Menendez, a two-term incumbent, was brought up on corruption charges in 2017 after investigators exposed his ethically dubious relationship with a wealthy Florida doctor who, after being convicted for defrauding Medicare, provided him lavish gifts and vacations, in what prosecutors alleged was a ploy to gain favor with a sitting lawmaker.

Hugin, a wealthy pharmaceutical executive, poured $37 million of his personal fortune into the race but faced an uphill battle nevertheless as New Jersey hasn’t had a Republican senator since 1972.

While Menendez was not ultimately convicted for corruption, he was formally chastised by the Senate Ethics Committee for “knowingly and repeatedly accept[ing] gifts of significant value’’ and “fail[ing] to publicly disclose certain gifts as required by senate rule and federal law.’’

While many prominent Democrats, including New Jersey governor Phil Murphy, were hesitant to back Menendez, a number of voters interviewed at the polls Tuesday did not appear particularly troubled by the allegations surrounding Menendez.

“If [jurors] were OK with it, then so am I,” Madsen Roy, a 67-year-old bus driver told the New York Post when asked about Menendez’s behavior.

Hugin, a Republican delegate at the 2016 convention, likely suffered from his association with President Trump despite his insistence that he was “no Trump Republican.’’

Most Popular

Film & TV

A Sad Finale

Spoilers Ahead. Look, I share David’s love of Game of Thrones. But I thought the finale was largely a bust, for failings David mostly acknowledges in passing (but does not allow to dampen his ardor). The problems with the finale were largely the problems of this entire season. Characters that had been ... Read More
Politics & Policy

The Great Misdirection

The House Democrats are frustrated, very frustrated. They’ve gotten themselves entangled in procedural disputes with the Trump administration that no one particularly cares about and that might be litigated for a very long time. A Washington Post report over the weekend spelled out how stymied Democrats ... Read More
NR Webathon

We’ve Had Bill Barr’s Back

One of the more dismaying features of the national political debate lately is how casually and cynically Attorney General Bill Barr has been smeared. He is routinely compared to Roy Cohn on a cable-TV program that prides itself on assembling the most thoughtful and plugged-in political analysts and ... Read More