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Roselle Park Mayor Joseph Signorello. (Photo: Joe Signorello).

Roselle Park mayor moves to challenge Menendez in Democratic primary

Joseph Signorello files campaign commitete with Federal Election Commission

By David Wildstein, February 09 2023 6:20 pm

Roselle Park Mayor Joseph Signorello III has taken the first step toward challenging incumbent Bob Menendez in the 2024 Democratic primary for the U.S. Senate, filing a campaign committee with the Federal Election Commission.

Signorello, 35, is a two-term mayor of a blue-collar town in Union County with a population of 12,281.

Michael Soliman, Menendez’s top political advisor, expressed confidence in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman’s ability to win a fourth Democratic primary.

“Senator Menendez has spent his career serving the people of New Jersey and being a champion for the middle class.  While he takes no election for granted, the Senator’s record speaks for itself,” Soliman said.  “I’m happy to compare that record to anyone else’s, on any given day.”

This might be Signorello’s second bid for higher office.

After Thomas Kean, Jr. (R-Westfield) gave up his State Senate seat in 2021 to focus on his bid for Congress, Signorello became a candidate for the open seat.  He lost to Republican Jon Bramnick (R-Westfield).

In that race, Signorello lost by seven points in a district that Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy carried by two points, a swing of nine points.

It’s not clear who is running Signorello’s fledgling campaign, but it’s not Andrew Casais, the Roselle Park borough administrator and a partner at Crossing Aisles Consulting, a political consulting firm.   He told the New Jersey Globe that he doesn’t support Signorello for the Senate and backs Menendez for re-election.

Casais received some notice last year after running a campaign to beat his uncle, Bayonne Mayor Jimmy Davis.

Christina Khalil, a 32-year-old social worker, filed to challenge Menendez in the primary last November.  She did not report raising any money in the fourth quarter of 2022.

Two Republicans are in the race so far: Daniel Cruz, a public school teacher from Andover who received  17% of the vote in a primary challenge against Senate Minority Leader Steve Oroho (R-Franklin) last year; and Shirley Maia-Cusick, who has raised $7,509 and has $1,450 cash-on-hand.

Menendez faced a tough re-election campaign in 2018 after Republican Bob Hugin spent more than $36 million of his own money to win a U.S. Senate seat.  But Menendez won by 11 percentage points, 54%-43%, and set the record for the most actual votes cast in a mid-term election in state history.

Christian Fuscarino, the executive director of Garden State Equality, the state’s largest LGBTQ+ advocacy group, said Menendez and others would still need to compete for their support.  The group backed Signorello for Senate in the last election.

“We have an endorsement policy that involves metrics that would help make that decision,” Fuscarino explained.

POLITICO first reported Signorello’s filing.

Correction: an earlier version said that Andrew Casais, Signorello’s business administrator in Roselle Park, was running his race.  That was incorrect.  Casais said he supports Menendez.  The New Jersey Globe also made a statement about Signorello that was not accurate.  We have removed that and we apologize.

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