Progressive Rep. Andy Kim is the clear favorite to keep indicted New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez’s seat in the Democratic column this November.

Kim, 41, who represents many of Philadelphia’s eastern suburbs in the Garden State’s Third Congressional District, leads both of his potential Republican rivals in the Fairleigh Dickinson University poll out Monday — though his margin shrinks if Menendez, 70, is added to the mix as an independent candidate.

In a head-to-head matchup against Mendham Borough Mayor Christine Serrano Glassner, Kim leads 49% to 39% among registered voters, with 13% saying they don’t know whom they would support.

When matched up against developer Curtis Bashaw, Kim leads the race 47% to 38%, with 15% saying they don’t know how they would vote.

When Menendez is included in the list of options, Kim’s lead over Glasser is reduced to six percentage points, 45% to 39%, with Menendez getting 7% and 10% saying they don’t know how they’d vote.

Kim’s lead also drops to six points in a hypothetical three-way race against Menendez and Bashaw, with the Democrat leading 44% to 38%, Menendez getting 6%, and 12% saying they don’t know how they’d vote.

The Republican nominee to face Kim will be determined in the June 4 New Jersey primary.

Menendez announced last month that he would not pursue a fourth full Senate term as a Democrat, but kept the door open to a run as an independent should he enjoy “exoneration” on federal corruption charges later this year.

“Despite all of his legal problems, Menendez still has a base, and if he’s on the ballot, that base is going to come out for him,” explained poll director Dan Cassino, professor of government and politics at FDU.

“He’s not going to win, but he might be able to make things uncomfortable for Democrats.”

The poll finds that Menendez enjoys his strongest support among ethnic minorities, with 14% of black voters, 12% of Asian voters and 10% of Hispanic voters saying they would back him despite his legal troubles.

Menendez is due to stand trial beginning May 6 on charges that he and his wife Nadine accepted cash, gold bars, a Mercedes-Benz convertible and other gifts from a trio of New Jersey businessmen in exchange for doling out political favors.

Both Menendezes have pleaded not guilty to the 18 criminal counts against them.

Menendez has ignored calls from his Democratic colleagues to resign his Senate seat, and has been able to sit in on classified briefings despite being accused of acting as a foreign agent for Egypt and Qatar as part of the indictment handed down by a federal grand jury in Manhattan.

Kim announced his bid for Menendez’s seat not long after the indictment was first unsealed against the incumbent senator in September last year. He is the lone major Democratic contender after New Jersey first lady Tammy Murphy dropped out of the race March 24.

The FDU poll surveyed 809 New Jersey registered voters April 1-8, with a margin of error of plus or minus 4.3 percentage points.

Share.
2024 © Network Today. All Rights Reserved.