Home>Campaigns>Small town mayor announces Democratic U.S. primary challenge to Menendez in New Jerey

Roselle Park Mayor Joseph Signorello. (Photo: Joseph Signorello.)

Small town mayor announces Democratic U.S. primary challenge to Menendez in New Jerey

Joe Signorello will seek Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate

By David Wildstein, February 28 2023 9:44 am

Roselle Park Mayor Joseph Signorello will launch his bid for the Democratic nomination for the U.S. Senate today, setting up a primary with incumbent Bob Menendez, he told the New Jersey Globe this morning.

“Bob Menendez is a corrupt embarrassment to the voters of the state of New Jersey,” said Signorello.  “For the last decade, we’ve had no other options – nobody’s been willing to step up to run a challenger campaign against him.”

In his primary campaign, Signorello said he will outline a vision of the Democratic Party “that’s adept and realistic about how we use our power in the Senate – one that can banish the filibuster for good, pass Medicare for All, cancel student debt, and root out blatant corruption in our government.”

Signorello, the 35-year-old mayor of a Union County borough population of 14,007, will seek to buck the Democratic party establishment in the June 2024 primary against Menendez,  the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and a three-term incumbent.    He filed with the Federal Election Commission last month.

Signorello called Menendez “a prime example of an epidemic of failed leadership and the brand of politics killing the Democratic Party.”

“His disregard for the law and ethics make him a weak sitting Senator, who is painfully vulnerable to the Republican nominee in 2024,” he said.  “Once we leave the corrupt politics of the past behind, we can move forward with progress and have a smart, efficient government with the ability to make positive change for everyone.”

Menendez has been a fierce vote-getter, winning his 2018 race by eleven percentage points against Republican Bob Hugin, who put in over $36 million of his own money.

“Senator Menendez fights like hell for New Jersey, and he will fight like hell to earn another re-election from voters across New Jersey,” said Michael Soliman, Menendez’s top political advisor.  “Anyone who underestimates Senator Menendez has always- always- been proven wrong.”

Signorellowon a 2018 mayoral race with 54% of the vote in a three-way race that included incumbent Carl Hokanson, a Democrat, running as an independent.   He lost a bid for State Senate to Republican Jon Bramnick (R-Westfield) in 2021 and was re-elected to a second term with 57% in a politically competitive town.

He was an early supporter of Pete Buttigieg for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination.

“I’m no stranger to running in tough races, and this is going to be my toughest race yet,” Signorello said.  “I’ve worked with folks from every corner of our municipality to achieve historic tax reductions for working families, rehabilitate the local economy, and pioneer new community policing methods.”

Soliman said that Signorello “has neither the record of accomplishment, the electoral skills nor the relentless, successful advocacy for New Jersey of Senator Menendez.”

A January Monmouth University poll put Menendez’s job approval ratings at 38%-38%, and at 59%-15% among Democrats.

Last November, Christina Khalil, a 32-year-old social worker, filed to challenge Menendez in the primary.  She did not report raising any money in the fourth quarter of 2022.

Two Republicans are in the race so far: Daniel Cruz, who serveed on the Andover Regional School and Newton Board of Education, received  17% of the vote in a primary challenge against Senate Minority Leader Steve Oroho (R-Franklin) last year, and Shirley Maia-Cusick, who has raised $7,509 and has $1,450 cash-on-hand.

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