Rep. Andy Kim, D-N.J., announced Saturday he would challenge via primary Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., after his indictment on bribery charges.
"After calls to resign," Kim wrote on X, "Senator Menendez said 'I am not going anywhere.' As a result, I feel compelled to run against him. Not something I expected to do, but NJ deserves better."
On Friday, Kim became the second member of Congress and the first from New Jersey to call on Menendez to resign. A growing number of Democrats, including New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, have also called for Menendez's resignation, according to The Hill.
Prosecutors allege Menendez and his wife accepted over $600,000 in bribes, such as gold bars and home furnishings from New Jersey businesspeople, in exchange for helping their interests in Egypt.
But, according to legal scholar Jonathan Turley, it's not just that Menendez broke Washington's corruption taboo, as described by California Gov. Gavin Newsom as a "Goldilocks" zone of getting it just right, but that the congressman's biggest sin is that he didn't hide his corruption well enough.
"In a town known for a certain finesse in influence peddling," Turley wrote in an op-ed, "Menendez broke with industry custom by allegedly accepting direct items like gold and a car. This is classic bribery stuff. There was no labyrinth of shell companies and accounts — just crude old-school corruption, with cash stuffed in clothing and gold bars squirreled away for a rainy day."
Menendez has denied the charges, calling them a "smear campaign." Notably, the congressman faced bribery charges in 2015, but the case was dropped after a mistrial.
The senator resigned from his role as chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee but refused to step down from his position.
Nick Koutsobinas, a Newsmax writer, has years of news reporting experience. A graduate from Missouri State University’s philosophy program, he focuses on exposing corruption and censorship.
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