New Jersey Democratic Rep. Andy Kim announced Saturday that he’ll run next year against Sen. Bob Menendez in the wake of the senator’s indictment and refusal to step down.
“After calls to resign, 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. We cannot jeopardize the Senate or compromise our integrity,” Kim posted on X, the platform previously known as Twitter.
Kim has been representing New Jersey’s 3rd Congressional District, which includes suburbs east of Trenton, since 2019. He won reelection last November by more than 10 percentage points.
Kim is a member of the Congressional Asian Pacific American and Progressive caucuses. He also serves on the House Armed Services and Foreign Affairs committees.
Kim made headlines following the January 6, 2021, insurrection after he was photographed cleaning up the debris and trash left at the Capitol by the rioters who ransacked the building hours prior. He later donated the suit he was wearing that day to the Smithsonian.
Menendez was first appointed to the US Senate in 2006 to fill the vacancy left by Jon Corzine, who had been elected New Jersey governor. He was reelected in 2018 with 54% of the vote. Prior to becoming a senator, Menendez represented New Jersey’s 13th Congressional District.
On Friday, Menendez and his wife, Nadine Arslanian Menendez, were charged with corruption-related offenses. The indictment alleged that the couple accepted bribes, which included gold, cash and home mortgage payments, in exchange for the senator’s influence.
Many New Jersey Democrats swiftly called for the senator’s resignation, including Gov. Phil Murphy, who said, “The alleged facts are so serious that they compromise the ability of Senator Menendez to effectively represent the people of our state.” Murphy would have to appoint a senator to replace Menendez should he resign.
Other members of the New Jersey delegation in Washington, DC, have also called on Menendez to resign. Democratic Rep. Mikie Sherrill said, “There is no room for this kind of conduct in public service.”
Democrats in Menendez’s chamber have been slow to comment on the indictment, including junior New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker. But Pennsylvania Democratic Sen. John Fetterman on Saturday became the first senator to call for Menendez’s resignation.
Menendez made it clear in a statement Friday evening that he does not intend to resign.
“Those who believe in justice believe in innocence until proven guilty. I intend to continue to fight for the people of New Jersey with the same success I’ve had for the past five decades. This is the same record of success these very same leaders have lauded all along.”
Friday marked the second time the senator has been charged with corruption-related offenses.
In 2015, Menendez was charged with conspiracy, bribery and honest services fraud relating to allegedly abusing the power of his office. Prosecutors said the senator accepted more than $600,000 in political contributions and other gifts from a wealthy ophthalmologist in exchange for political favors.
The case ended in a mistrial in November 2017 after the jury reported it was deadlocked.
This story has been updated with additional details.