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Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Christina Khalil. (Photo: Khalil for U.S. Senate).

Menendez gets a primary opponent

By David Wildstein, November 14 2022 12:30 pm

A 32-year-old social worker from Bergen County who grew up in foster care is planning to challenge Bob Menendez in the 2024 Democratic primary for U.S. Senate.

Christina A. Khalil has filed papers with the Federal Election Commission to take on Menendez, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the senator from New Jersey since 2006.

Khalil is a certified alcohol and drug counselor who works as a clinician at the BlueCrest Recovery Center in Woodland Park.    She has volunteered for the Bergen County LGBTQ+ Alliance and as a front line health care worker at a medical detox center during the coronavirus pandemic.

“While working in the medical and substance abuse field, Christina realized how our current elected leaders appear detached from the reality of the current struggles that citizens of New Jersey face and she made a vow that when it was her time to step up and work towards change, that she would do just that,” her campaign said in a statement.

The only Republican in the race so far is 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.

Menendez has indicated that he plans to seek re-election.   Last month, national news organization reported that he is facing a federal investigation led the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York.  An aide to the senior U.S. Senator confirmed the probe.

Running against Menendez would be a difficult task.  In 2018,  he set the record for the most votes received by a statewide candidate in New Jersey in a midterm election; he was re-elected by an 11-point margin despite Hugin spending more than $40 million of his own money.

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