Bob Menendez isn’t on the ballot Tuesday’s U.S. Senate elections in Georgia, but his ascension to the chairmanship of the powerful Senate Foreign Relations Committee depends upon whether Democrats oust David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler.
A Democratic majority depends on winning both Georgia seats: a runoff between Perdue and Democrat Jon Ossoff, and a special election between Loeffler and his Democratic opponent, Rev. Raphael Warnock.
A Republican poll released by the Trafalgar Group last Tuesday had both races statistically tied: Ossoff was at 48.6% (and 50.4% with leaners) and Perdue at 46.4% (and 47.7% with leaners); Warnock was at 47.1% (and 49.6% with leaners), while Loeffler was at 46.8% (and 48.8%) with leaners.
Republicans have a 51-46 majority, with two independents who organize with Democrats, Bernie Sanders and Angus King. Perdue’s term expired at noon and he is presently a former senator.
Menendez is the ranking Democrat on the Foreign Relations Committee. He served as chairman from 2013 to 2015, the last time Democrats controlled the Senate.
Another New Jersey native is a stakeholder in the Georgia Senate race: Perude’s chief of staff, Megan Whittemore, is a Middletown native who once interned in the office of then-State Sen. Joseph Kyrillos (R-Middletown).