Kyle Jasey, the son of outgoing Essex County Assemblywoman Mila Jasey (D-27), announced this evening that he will challenge Rep. Rob Menendez (D-8) for his seat instead of running statewide in the Senate race against his father, Bob Menendez (D-NJ).
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
“After many conversations with my team, my family and my friends, I have decided to end my pursuit of the NJ Senate Seat held by Bob Menendez. Long before Senator Menendez was indicted, I planned on challenging him,” Jasey said in a statement.
“Like many people in New Jersey, I was tired of his brazen corruption. At this time, there appear to be other capable candidates in the race, and Senator Menendez’s tenure representing our state is coming to an end.”
A Jersey City resident who lives downtown, Jasey filed to run for Senate on July 14th, about two months before Bob Menendez was indicted for allegedly accepted bribes that included cash, gold bars, and a car.
The following day, September 23rd, U.S. Rep. Andy Kim (D-3) announced he would run for Senate and formally kicked off his campaign on Friday. Tammy Murphy, the wife of Gov. Phil Murphy (D), is also expected to announce some time this week.
A superseding indictment accuses of allegedly providing sensitive government information to aid the government of Egypt and also pressuring officials at the U.S. Department of Agriculture to protect a business monopoly for Wael Hana, who has an exclusive USDA contract to provide halal meat to Egypt.
Bob Menendez has not yet said if he will run in the June 4th, 2024 primary, potentially putting him and his son on the same ballot, but he has hinted as such several times.
“A year and a half ago, I was sitting on a hospital bed with long COVID and feared that I would not be around to raise my kids. I told myself that if I made it out of that situation and was given a second chance, I would show my sons what it meant to stand up and fight for something,” Jasey explained.
” … After surviving his last trial with a hung jury, I believe that Bob Menendez disenfranchised the people of the 8th Congressional District by anointing his son to the open congressional seat he once held. The voters were never given a real choice in this matter. For this reason, I am seeking the Democratic nomination for the 8th congressional district, and I look forward to making my case to the community.”
Speaking with HCV over the phone, Jasey added that he has lived in the 8th District for over a decade and owns a business, had seriously considered running for Congress in 2022, and sees no scenario where he will drop out of this race.
Rob Menendez became the Hudson County Democratic Organization’s pick for Congress almost simultaneously as Albio Sires decided to retire from the House after eight terms at the end of 2021. Rob Menendez won both the primary and general elections in 2022 easily.
For the moment, he remains the most likely choice for the HCDO to back, announcing a re-election bid in September hours after Hoboken Mayor Ravi Bhalla floated the possibility of running.
Hudson County Executive-elect Craig Guy has already publicly expressed support for Rob Menendez, though it wasn’t a formal endorsement.
This morning, the New Jersey Globe first reported that Bhalla had raised $509,000 for a congressional bid, compared to $433,244 cash on hand for the incumbent.
As of this evening, Bhalla, who has called for Bob Menendez to resign, has not filed anything that is publicly available on the Federal Election Commission’s website.
Jasey said he has about $50,000 secured so far, including commitments.
Jasey is the second Senate candidate that decided to pivot to a bid for Congress.
Roselle Park Mayor Joe Signorello announced early this year that he would challenge Bob Menendez, switching to a Democratic candidate in the 7th District congressional race instead. He ended up dropping out of that campaign as well last month.