‘Gold Bar’ Bob Menendez reveals he will NOT run in the Democratic primary as he faces multitude of corruption charges but could still seek reelection as an independent

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Written By Maya Cantina
  • Sen. Bob Menendez said Thursday that he will not compete in the state’s Democratic primary 
  • He says he’ll potentially run as an ‘independent Democrat’ in the fall if he’s cleared of charges 
  • Menendez and his wife are facing charges involving a bribery scheme related to the Qatari and Egyptian governments

Embattled New Jersey Democratic Sen. Bob ‘Gold Bar’ Menendez said in a video statement Thursday that he will not run in his state’s Democratic primary but kept the door open to running for reelection as an independent this fall. 

Menendez and his wife Nadine are facing charges related to an alleged bribery scheme involving the Qatari and Egyptian governments. 

Already, Democrats Tammy Murphy, the wife of New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, and Rep. Andy Kim are vying for Menendez’s Senate seat, with voters heading to the polls in November to decide the next occupant.

‘Unfortunately the present accusations I am facing of which I am innocent and will prove so, will not allow me to have that type of dialog and debate with political opponents that have already made it the cornerstone of their campaign,’ Menendez said in a video posted to his X account. 

‘Therefore I will not file for the Democratic primary this June,’ he said. ‘I am hopeful that my exoneration will take place this summer and allow me to pursue my candidacy as an independent Democrat in the general election.’ 

Embattled New Jersey Democratic Sen. Bob ‘Gold Bar’ Menendez said in a video statement Thursday that he will not run in his state’s Democratic primary but kept the door open to running for reelection as an independent this fall

Democratic Senator Bob Menendez and his wife Nadine are seeking separate trials on bribery charges they each face in a New York court

Democratic Senator Bob Menendez and his wife Nadine are seeking separate trials on bribery charges they each face in a New York court

He previously refused to resign from Congress as the scandal mounted. 

Polling from late January showed that the incumbent had a tough road ahead of him if he decided to pursue the Democratic nomination for his seat, which he’s held since 2006. 

The Democratic primary will be held on June 4.  

A Fairleigh Dickinson University survey showed Kim with 32 percent of the likely Democratic vote and Murphy with 20 percent. 

Menendez was only garnering 9 percent support at the time. 

In September, Menendez and his wife Nadine were charged separately in a scheme where they allegedly aided three New Jersey businessmen in return for cash, gold bars and a luxury car. 

Authorities who searched the Menendez home found more than $100,000 worth of gold bars in the residence, as well as more than $480,000 in cash, which was hidden away in closets, amongst clothing and in a safe, prosecutors said.   

Sen. Bob Menendez (left) and his wife Nadine Arslanian Menendez (right) leave federal court in New York earlier this month

Sen. Bob Menendez (left) and his wife Nadine Arslanian Menendez (right) leave federal court in New York earlier this month 

Prosecutors released images of the gold bars Menendez allegedly received from a New Jersey businessmen in return for pushing the interests of Qatar and Egypt

Prosecutors released images of the gold bars Menendez allegedly received from a New Jersey businessmen in return for pushing the interests of Qatar and Egypt 

Piles of cash are pictured from the raid on the Menendez's home in New Jersey

Piles of cash are pictured from the raid on the Menendez’s home in New Jersey

Prosecutors also said that Menendez had Googled the value of a ‘kilo of gold.’ 

Menendez, his wife and the three business associates have all pleaded not guilty. 

He’s been charged with conspiracy, including conspiring to commit bribery, honest services fraud, extortion and acting as an unregistered foreign agent. 

Amid the charges, Menendez was forced to give up his position as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. 

The allegations say that Menendez used his foreign policy connections to assist the government of Egypt and help a businessman seek an investment from the Qatari government. 

‘I know many of you are hurt and disappointed in me with the accusations I’m facing,’ he said in the nearly 10-minute long video message, which also outlined some of his achievements while serving in the upper chamber. 

‘Believe me, I am disappointed in the false accusations as well,’ he continued. ‘All I can ask of you is to withhold judgment until justice takes place.’ 

It’s unlikely due to New Jersey’s heavily Democratic makeup that the Democrats would lose the seat in the fall, though it becomes more possible if Menendez launches an independent run, as he could play the role of spoiler. 

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