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Sen. Bob Menendez will not run for re-election, leaves open possibility of running independent

Sen. Bob Menendez of New Jersey announced Thursday that he is not planning to run in the Democratic primary.

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“I will not file for the Democratic primary this June,” Menendez said in a video posted to social media, according to The Washington Post. “I am hopeful that my exoneration will take place this summer and allow me to pursue my candidacy as an independent Democrat in a general election.”

The video was about nine minutes long.

Menendez was up for re-election this year, according to CNN. If he did run, it would have been a competitive race against New Jersey Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy’s wife Tammy Murphy and Rep. Andy Kim. Kim has been endorsed by Pennsylvania Sen. John Fetterman. Fetterman has been one of the most vocal Senate Democrats trying to get Menendez to resign.

Menendez is accused of accepting hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes from three New Jersey businessmen. On March 11, Menendez and and his wife, Nadine, entered not guilty pleas Monday at a federal courthouse in Manhattan, The Associated Press reported.

The plea hearing was Menendez’s third since September when authorities first charged him with accepting bribes. Officials said he and his wife accepted gold, cash, a luxury car and other more to use his power to benefit three New Jersey businessmen and the countries of Egypt and Qatar.

Menendez and his co-defendants, including his wife and businessmen Wael “Will” Hana and Fred Daibes, are set to face trial beginning on May 6, according to the Times.

Since charges were first announced last year, Menendez has resisted calls for his resignation. He has since stepped down from his high-profile position as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.


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