May 16, 2024 - Politics & Policy

Scoop: Top Democrats give Rob Menendez an 11th-hour assist

Rep. Rob Menendez Jr., wearing a blue suit and purple sign, standing next to his father, Sen. Bob Menendez, in front of an "asylum is a human right" sign.

Sen. Bob Menendez and Rep. Rob Menendez Jr. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images.

House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) and other top House Democrats are holding a fundraiser on Thursday for Rep. Rob Menendez Jr. (D-N.J.), Axios has learned.

Why it matters: The son of indicted Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) is trying to fend off a tough primary challenge from Hoboken Mayor Ravi Bhalla.

  • Jeffries, who endorsed Menendez for re-election in January, generally supports even his most vulnerable incumbents against primary rivals.

Driving the news: The high-dollar Thursday evening reception in the Capitol Hill neighborhood boasts a star-studded lineup, according to an invitation obtained by Axios.

  • In addition to Jeffries, House Minority Whip Katherine Clark (D-Mass.), Democratic Caucus Chair Pete Aguilar (D-Calif.) and Assistant Democratic Leader Joe Neguse (D-Colo.) will be in attendance.
  • So will several powerful committee leaders, such as Ways and Means Committee Ranking Member Richard Neal (D-Mass.) and Energy & Commerce Committee Ranking Member Frank Pallone (D-N.J.).
  • Tickets start at $500 for individual attendees and go up to $5,000 for PAC hosts.

Zoom out: Jeffries has a long record of supporting Democratic incumbents dating back to his time as chair of the Democratic Caucus, when he launched a PAC for that express purpose.

Zoom in: Menendez, who was first elected in 2022, faces a difficult fight to keep his seat in his June 4 primary.

  • In addition to his ties to his father, who is defending himself against explosive bribery charges, he also has to contend with the end of an electoral system in New Jersey that benefits establishment politicians.
  • Menendez has raised nearly $1.4 million as of the end of March to Bhalla's $1.6 million, according to the Federal Election Commission.

This article has been corrected to reflect that Rep. Frank Pallone is the ranking member of the Energy & Commerce Committee, not the chair.

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