Keep in mind that Menendez is negotiating with the prosecutors to keep himself and his wife out of prison or at least to just get the shortest possible terms. His only bargaining chips are his Senate seat and to accuse, incredulously, everyone of anti-Hispanic racism. New Jersey elected officials-- from the governor, Assembly speaker, Senate president down to local candidates-- and some party bosses are all breaking against him and demanding he resign. Why resign instead of retire? If he resigns, the governor gets to appoint a placeholder who will serve out the rest of his term without a special election. If he waits to retire, it jeopardizes the whole Democratic ticket— both in New Jersey and nationally.
Today, John Fetterman (PA— lots of shared media markets) became the first Democratic senator to publicly call for him to resign now. Andy Kim, a Democratic swing district congressman, already called on him resign and today announced he’s primarying Menendez and has started raising money, although that money is fungible for his House reelection campaign. The party bosses have pretty much decided that corrupt conservative Bergen County Democrat Josh Gottheimer will be the consensus Senate candidate for 2024, no matter what Menendez says or does.
Also today, the buzz turned into a roar in Jersey City for popular progressive City Councilman James Solomon (---->) to primary Bob Menendez, Jr., who only has the seat because this father pressured the machine to give him the county lines. Solomon was presumed to be running for mayor against City Council president Joyce Watterman, corrupt, closeted Hudson County commissioner Bill O’Dea and former New Jersey governor Jim McGreevey. The seat is as blue as it comes. Trump got just 26.8% of the vote in 2020. The PVI is D+22, a majority Latino district and besides much of Jersey City includes Hoboken, Bayonne parts of Newark, Union City and Elizabeth.
Writing for the Star-Ledger today, Tom Moran asserted that “Menendez (Sr) is a stain on our public life and has been for a decade. It’s unlikely he’ll resign anytime soon, because he is a man without shame. So, he’ll have to be pushed out by his fellow Democrats, one way or another. This is a defining moment for the Democratic Party in New Jersey. If the machines stick with Menendez again, they are inviting decent people who are tired of this stench to abandon the party. That could affect state races, but more importantly, it could put the slim Democratic majority in the U.S. Senate at grave risk if Menendez is the candidate in 2024… [I]f the machines stick with Menendez again, then it is surely time to revolt against them, once and for all. We deserve better.”