Belleville Mayor Michael Melham is exploring a bid for Congress in New Jersey’s 8th district, where Rep. Albio Sires (D-West New York) will retire after nearly 16 years in office.
“I think when a seat opens up, everyone starts looking at options and paths,” Melham said. “I wanted to make sure Belleville has the best representation possible.
Melham is a registered independent who endorsed Republican Jack Ciattarelli for governor this year. He wouldn’t close the door on running as a Democrat or Republican or mounting an independent congressional campaign in November 2022.
Melham announced two weeks ago that he would run for a second term as mayor of Belleville in the May 2022 non-partisan municipal election. A possible House bid won’t change that.
“I’m focused on Belleville,” he said. “I want to represent Belleville the best way possible.”
Melham ousted three-term incumbent Raymond Kimble in 2018 by 97 votes after running a stealth vote-by-mail campaign using software he developed himself.
Over the next few weeks, Melham said he’ll speak to mayors in the 8th district and assess his chances. He noted that many Hudson County municipalities are his clients.
“I’ve got deep relationships over the last fifteen years,” Melham stated.
Sires has confirmed his intention to retire from the U.S. House of Representatives. Robert J. Menendez, the son of U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Menendez, has quickly emerged as the leading candidate for the Democratic nomination.