(Headline USA) Rep. Andy Kim of New Jersey announced on Saturday that he will run against Sen. Robert Menendez in the state’s Democratic primary for Senate next year, saying he feels compelled to run against the three-term senator after he and his wife were indicted on sweeping corruption charges.
Kim’s surprise announcement came as a growing number of Democrats are attacking Menendez.
“This is not something I expected to do, but I believe New Jersey deserves better,” Kim said in a statement.
“We cannot jeopardize the Senate or compromise our country’s integrity. I believe it’s time we restore faith in our democracy, and that’s why I am stepping up and running for Senate.”
The calls for Menendez, the Democratic chairman of the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee, come after he and his wife Nadine were indicted on Friday for using his powerful position to aid the authoritarian government of Egypt and also to pressure federal prosecutors to drop a case against a friend.
The three-count indictment lists a series of bribes they were paid by three New Jersey businessmen in exchange for the corrupt acts — gold bars, a luxury car and cash.
It is the second indictment on bribery charges for Menendez — and the second time he has had to relinquish his post as the top Democrat on the Foreign Relations panel. He regained the leadership spot in 2018 after the case ended with a deadlocked jury.
Menendez was defiant after Friday’s indictment, saying in a statement Friday evening that “I am not going anywhere.”
Two notable New Jersey Democrats who have not called on Menendez to step down: Democratic Sen. Cory Booker, his New Jersey colleague in the Senate, and his son, Rep. Rob Menendez, who said in a statement that he has “unwavering confidence” in his father.
Adapted from reporting by the Associated Press