An October Quinnipiac University poll showed that 59 percent of likely voters don’t think Menendez deserves reelection — against 19 percent who do. It was only 15 years ago when Democratic leaders turned on then-Sen.
Robert Torricelli, forcing him to drop his reelection bid with just a month left in the race when it became clear he couldn’t recover from his own ethics scandal, and might lose.
A key question may be whether the Justice Department decides to retry the case — and how quickly.
Though Menendez has time to repair his image before the campaign begins in earnest, another trial could put the allegations back into the headlines. One told reporters that the jury favored acquittal on most charges by a 10-2 count.
“All we have to do is rely on his history as a United States senator fighting for New Jersey,” said Menendez political adviser Mike Soliman, who stopped just short of announcing a reelection campaign but predicted an announcement “within weeks.” The rapid swell of party support didn’t sit well with everyone. The GOP will almost certainly try to exploit the trial in next year’s campaign.
Jay Lassiter, a liberal activist from Cherry Hill, called it “disgusting and unfortunately all too predictable.” After all, Menendez admitted to going to bat for his friend and major donor, South Florida eye doctor Salomon Melgen, who in a separate criminal case was convicted of bilking Medicare out of 5 million. However, Menendez has a deep reservoir of political support.
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Coachella is a huge annual music festival in Greater Palm Springs, California.Prosecutors’ inability to convict Menendez on even a false statements charge “suggests that they were probably even less convinced of the actual corruption charges,” said Andrew Levchuk, a former trial attorney in the Department of Justice’s public corruption unit.That count, for failing to disclose gifts from Melgen as required by Senate ethics rules, was the most straightforward of allegations.He faces a review by the Senate ethics committee and a potential retrial, perhaps in the midst of a reelection campaign.And Democrats are left with a wounded incumbent who is nonetheless determined to seek vindication in the form of another six-year term.