The New Jersey Globe projects that Port Authority Commissioner Rob Menendez, the son of U.S. Senator Bob Menendez, has won the Democratic primary in the 8th congressional district. As of 10:54 p.m., Menendez had 84% of the vote, while his nearest competitor, David Ocampo Grajales, had 11%.
In December 2021, the New Jersey Globe reported that Rep. Albio Sires (D-West New York) would retire after 16 years in Congress, creating a rare opportunity for ambitious North Jersey politicians. An open Democratic seat in New Jersey is an uncommon thing; Sires is the first incumbent Democrat to retire since Reps. Rob Andrews (D-Haddon Heights) and Rush Holt Jr. (D-Hopewell) departed in 2014.
Yet all of those ambitious politicians ended up deferring to Menendez, who won the support of Gov. Phil Murphy, the Hudson County Democratic Party, and countless others before he even formally launched his campaign.
Two newcomer Democrats still chose to take him on: Ocampo Grajales, an activist and healthcare startup director, and Amistad Commission member Ane Roseborough-Eberhard. But neither raised nearly enough money to keep up with Menendez, a prolific fundraiser, and they didn’t pose a real threat to the dominance of the Hudson County Democratic machine.
Given that the 8th district is among the state’s most Democratic, winning the Democratic primary is tantamount to election, and the younger Menendez will almost certainly be a congressman come 2023. The lone Republican who filed, Marcos Arroyo, won his primary uncontested and will likely lose by a large margin come November.