Updated Jun 3, 2024 - Politics & Policy

Sen. Bob Menendez to run for re-election as independent amid bribery trial

  Senator Robert Menendez, a Democrat from New Jersey, exits federal court in New York, US, on Monday, June 3, 2024.

Sen. Bob Menendez exits federal court in New York on Monday. Photo: Yuki Iwamura/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Sen. Bob Menendez who's on trial on federal bribery charges, filed to run for re-election as an independent in New Jersey on Monday.

Why it matters: Menendez comfortably won re-election as a Democrat in 2018, so his decision to run as an independent could prove a headache for the Democratic Party in what's typically been a safe Senate seat.

State of play: Menendez needed 800 petition signatures to run and received 2,465 signatures, according to the New Jersey Division of Elections.

  • He said in Spanish after being asked outside court on Monday whether he would change political parties "no, independent doesn't mean I'm changing," per AP.
  • Menendez wouldn't say if he'd caucus with Democrats or Republicans if he were to win re-election, according to Politico.

What he's saying: "It displeases me to have to go this route, thanks to overzealous prosecutors, but I will do what must be done to continue to uphold my oath of office for my constituents," Menendez said in a statement to the media.

  • "As I have said before; I have committed no crime. I am more confident than ever that New Jerseyans and the rest of the American public will see me exonerated of what I am being accused of, and I will be re-elected to the Senate once again."

The big picture: Menendez's case related to allegations that he took action to benefit foreign governments.

  • He allegedly received gold bars, cash and a luxury car for those actions.

Go deeper: What to know about Bob Menendez's corruption trial

Editor's note: This article has been updated with further comment from Sen. Bob Menendez.

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