Sen. Bob Menendez not running for another term as Democrat, suggests he could go independent

He faces corruption and other charges, which he denies.

March 21, 2024, 5:54 PM

New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez said on Thursday that will not seek another term as a Democrat, as he faces corruption and other charges that he denies -- but he left open the possibility of running in November as an independent.

"I will not file for the Democratic primary this June," he said in a video statement. "I am hopeful that my exoneration will take place this summer and allow me to pursue my candidacy as an independent Democrat in the general election."

He continued: "This would allow me the time to not only remind New Jerseyans of how I've succeeded in being your champion -- but how we will secure our financial futures, meet the challenges of raising a family, owning a home, provide for a college education and secure a more peaceful world for all of us to live in."

Menendez, should he run as an independent, would likely face a serious challenge from the Democratic nominee, given the state's partisan lean. Gov. Phil Murphy's wife, Tammy Murphy, and Rep. Andy Kim, are currently the leading candidates in the primary.

PHOTO: Senator Bob Menendez arrives for a Senate Finance Committee hearing in Washington, D.C., on March 21, 2024.
Senator Bob Menendez arrives for a Senate Finance Committee hearing in Washington, D.C., on March 21, 2024.
Bloomberg via Getty Images

Prosecutors have accused Menendez of conspiring with his wife and a businessman to have the senator act as an agent of Egypt. According to the criminal accusations against him, in exchange for bribe payments, Menendez was meant to help lift a block on U.S. military aid to Egypt.

He has also been accused of accepting bribes in exchange for doing favors for the government of Qatar.

As he has consistently done since first being indicted in September, Menendez on Thursday maintained his innocence in his video. His wife has also denied wrongdoing.

"I know many of you are hurt and disappointed in me with the accusations I am facing. ... All I can ask of you is to withhold judgement until justice takes place," he said.

He spent most of his taped statement touting his accomplishments during his time in the Senate, focusing on time after Hurricane Sandy and the COVID-19 pandemic.

ABC News' Aaron Katersky contributed to this report.

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