Rep. Menendez gives fiery speech about re-election bid at fundraiser hosted by HCDO


U.S. Rep. Rob Menendez (D-8) gave a fiery speech about his re-election bid in the midst of a contentious primary against Hoboken Mayor Ravi Bhalla during a fundraiser hosted by the Hudson County Democratic Organization last night.

By John Heinis/Hudson County View

“As you guys know, the last couple of months have been challenging, challenging on a variety of fronts and I knew why I was doing this. I had known why I was doing this when I ran in 2022 and every single day when I would wake up, I knew what I wanted to achieve: I wanted to provide the best possible representation for every resident in the 8th Congressional District,” the congressman said at the Liberty House restaurant.

While he didn’t go into details, the challenges he was referencing was regarding his father, U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ), who has been indicted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York four times since September.

He is accused of accepting cash, gold bars, and a Mercedes-Convertible as bribes in exchange for his influence, as well as acting as a foreign agent to Egypt and pushing for a development deal between the Qatar government and co-defendant Fred Daibes.

He was also charged with obstruction of justice last week for allegedly trying to cover up evidence of bribes.

He has pleaded not guilty to all charges and has made it clear he plans to go to trial. NBC News reported yesterday that he is considering seeking re-election as an independent so he would be able to continue paying for legal fees through his campaign account.

This prompted Bhalla to again call for his resignation, which evidently didn’t sit well the Rep. Menendez, despite the fact that he didn’t go into specifics.

“This is where I grew up, this is where I’m raising my family, this is the place that made me. And to have the opportunity to have the honor to represent you in Congress is something that I take so seriously, that I take with such a badge of honor. When other people talk about Hudson County, they don’t know Hudson County, they don’t know what it means to be from Hudson County,” he continued.

“There are people who are much more comfortable tearing people down than they are building people up. Those people can’t tear people down who are stronger than they are. Those people can’t tear down organizations that were built street by street, election by election, year by year, by the people in this room.”

Menendez, who has the backing of 10 of the 12 county mayors (Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop being the other holdout), the legislative delegation (minus Bhalla-tied Assemblyman John Allen), and the Hudson County Board of Commissioners, then took aim at his June 4th opponent, and Fulop – also Democratic candidate for governor – without mentioning names.

“When I go to Washington, I think about how we level the playing field, how we increase opportunities for other people, for your children, your grandchildren, while other people not in this room think about how they create other opportunities for themselves,” he exclaimed.

“How they create an opportunity to go up the political ladder and instead of bringing people with them, they’re just thinking about themselves. The people in this room know what public service is about, while the people not in this room have no idea what public service is about.”

He concluded to applause after he scoffed at anyone who thinks he can’t and/or won’t be able to overcome adversity in this election.

“The people who thought that in the face of hardship, in the face of challenges, that I will bend, that I will break, that I would give up. Well they don’t know who I am. They don’t know that I’ll never stop fighting for the people that I love, that I’ll never stop fighting for your families and for our communities,” he exclaimed.

“So anyone who think that they’ll represent the 8th Congressional District better than I will, well you’re dead wrong. And I have a simple message to all of them: I’m not running, I’m not hiding, and you don’t need to come find me ‘cuz I’m coming for you.”

Weehawken Mayor Richard Turner served as the emcee for the event, while HCDO Chair Anthony Vainieri, Hudson County Executive Craig Guy, and state Senator (D-33)/Union City Mayor Brian Stack spoke before Menendez.

They all emphasized voting for the HCDO team this primary, which includes Hudson County Surrogate Tilo Rivas and U.S. Senate candidate Tammy Murphy, the First Lady of New Jersey.

Vainieri and the HCDO officially announced that they would be giving the party line to Murphy today, which comes as no surprise since they said they would do so back in November hours after she declared her candidacy.

The trio also said this election should not be taken lightly and vouched for Menendez to serve a second term, given the amount of resources he’s brought back to the county.

“Rob has an opponent, right? Rob has several opponents. I don’t want to take it lightly and I don’t think anybody in this room should take it lightly,” Guy stated.

“Rob has a fight … but make no mistake about it folks, Robert Menendez is a candidate for Congress that this that this elected official support and I know most, and I’ll say most, and most elected officials in Hudson County support him.”

Others in attendance included state Senators Angela McKnight (D-31) and Raj Mukherji (D-32), Hudson County Sheriff Frank Schillari, Hudson County Commissioner Bob Baselice (D-8) and Al Cifelli (D-9), Assemblymen William Sampson (D-31), Gabriel Rodriguez and Julio Marenco (both D-32), Assemblywomen Barbara Stamato (D-31, also the Jersey City Democratic Organization chair), and Jessica Ramirez (D-32), Bayonne Mayor Jimmy Davis, East Newark Mayor Dina Grilo, Guttenberg Mayor Wayne Zitt, Newark Mayor Ras Baraka, North Bergen Mayor Nick Sacco, West New York Mayor Albio Sires, Bayonne Councilman-at-Large Loyad Booker, Jersey City Ward A Councilwoman Denise Ridley, Hoboken council members Tiffanie Fisher, and Ruben Ramos, Kearny 4th Ward Councilman Stathis Theodoropoulos, North Bergen Commissioner Hugo Cabrera and Allen Pascual, North Bergen Democratic Organization Chair John Belluardo, Jersey City Board of Education Trustees Natalia Ioffe and Younass Barkouch, among many others.

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  1. JR your are a waste of skin. Go into the real world of the underprivileged. Connect with the real people of HC.

    Your a Bast*ard child of a bad corrupt man. Swim in a different pool.