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NJ-8 candidate Rob Menendez votes in Jersey City on Election Day 2022. (Photo: Menendez for Congress).

Menendez wins race to succeed Sires in 8th congressional district

Son of U.S. Senator was heavy favorite for safely Democratic seat

By Joey Fox, November 08 2022 8:28 pm

The New Jersey Globe projects that Democratic Port Authority Commissioner Rob Menendez has overwhelmingly won election to Congress, defeating Republican Marcos Arroyo in the solidly Democratic 8th congressional district. Menendez will succeed Rep. Albio Sires (D-West New York), who chose to retire this year.

Sires has represented the 8th district, which covers most of Hudson County and other majority-Hispanic areas in North Jersey, since 2006. When he announced at the end of last year that he wouldn’t seek another term, Menendez quickly became the frontrunner to succeed him, receiving county ballot lines before he had even formally launched a campaign.

That dominance can be attributed in large part to Menendez’s father, U.S. Senator Bob Menendez. The elder Menendez represented Hudson County in Congress before Sires, and he retains massive influence over the area’s politics.

With the entire Democratic establishment in his corner, Menendez faced only two Democratic opponents in the primary, both of whom were political unknowns before their House bids. Menendez, who raised $1.3 million in his first six months as a candidate, won with 84% of the vote.

The 8th district, which didn’t change much in redistricting, voted for Joe Biden by 45 points; once Menendez won the Democratic primary, he essentially became a congressman-elect. Arroyo didn’t run a real campaign for the seat, but even a strong candidate would have lost in a landslide.

Menendez is set to join New Jersey’s congressional delegation at a time when reports are swirling that his father is once again under federal investigation. Depending on what results from that, the Menendez family brand could take a hit – but for now, the younger Menendez will be safely ensconced in Congress.

Sires, meanwhile, is aiming to make a comeback for the job he held before becoming a congressman. As Hudson County Democrats look to reshape their legislative delegation, Sires is expected to run for mayor of West New York, the community he previously led from 1995 to 2006.

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