Latina Civic PAC is recommending five candidates for U.S. Senator Bob Menendez’s (D-NJ) seat, including U.S. District Judge Esther Salas.
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
“Over the past few days there has been great uncertainty surrounding the U.S. Senate seat currently held by U.S. Senator Bob Menendez. There have been many media reports and public discussions including speculation about potential candidates for that seat in 2024,” the group said in a statement.
“But, sadly, none of the individuals discussed are members of New Jersey’s fastest growing minority population and largest non-white voting bloc, Latinos. In fact, Latinos make up 22% of the state’s population.”
Their five recommendations they offered are Salas, state Senator Teresa Ruiz (D-29), state Senator Nellie Pou (D-35), state Senator Nilsa Cruz-Perez (D-5), and Dr. Patricia Campos-Medina, the latter being a progressive activist and former head of Latina Civic PAC.
Salas made national news in July 2020 after a gunmen came to her home looking for her. Her son Daniel answered the door and was fatally shot, while her husband Mark was also struck by gunfire but survived.
Menendez and U.S. Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) sponsored the Daniel Anderl Judicial Security and Privacy Act, which sought to protect federal judges by prohibiting the selling, trading, transferring, or purchasing of judges’ personally identifiable information online.
Salas has never publicly expressed an interest in elected office, though in the event that Menendez resigns, there will likely be a long line of candidates who would like Gov. Phil Murphy (D) to appoint them to the seat.
However, New Jersey’s senior senator has been clear that he has no plans to resign and has two declared June 4th, 2024 primary challengers in U.S. Rep. Andy Kim (D-3) and activist Larry Hamm.
Others that have been floated as possible Senate candidates are First Lady Tammy Murphy, U.S. Reps. Josh Gottheimer (D-5) and Mikie Sherrill (D-11), though the latter is reportedly more interested in the 2025 gubernatorial contest at the moment.
The three-count indictment charges Menendez and his wife with conspiracy to commit bribery, conspiracy to commit honest services fraud, and conspiracy to commit extortion under color and official right.
They are accused of having a “corrupt relationship” with Wael Hana, Jose Uribe, and Fred Daibes. Those three are charged with the first two counts.
Overall, the indictment charges that the Menendezes accepted corrupt payments for their mortgage, a 2019 Mercedes-Benz C-Class C300, $486,471 in cash, another $79,760 from the safe deposit box, two one-kilogram gold bars, and 11 one-ounce gold bars.
Menendez is also accused of trading government secrets with the country of Egypt to help secure a U.S. Department of Agriculture contract with Hana’s halal meat company.
They all pleaded not guilty federal court in Manhattan this week.