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Is Menendez the Choice?

Rep. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) interrupted a trip to Puerto Rico over the weekend to return to the Garden State to meet with Gov.-elect. Jon Corzine (D), according to several knowledgeable sources who spoke on the condition of anonymity due to the private nature of the meeting.

The sources would not discuss the nature of the meeting, though it seems likely to have been centered on Menendez's possible appointment to the remaining year of Corzine's Senate term.  Many informed New Jersey observers expect Corzine to announce his pick this week. Menendez has been mentioned as the likely pick, though Reps. Rob Andrews, Rush Holt and Frank Pallone are also in the mix.

Menendez's political opponents -- both within the Democratic Party and in the GOP -- appear to be circulating negative stories about him in the press, such as a New York Times article from last week that mentioned Menendez's relationship with a top aide.

In related Menendez news, The Coronado Project, a Hispanic advocacy group, sent a memo to interested parties Sunday presenting the case for Menendez. "Choosing Menendez to fill his post, Corzine can instantly install someone to the Senate who because of his experience in a leadership position in the House can automatically add energy and real public policy experience to the national Democratic leadership as it prepares to shape next year's election strategy," the memo says. "They also would have comeone who understands how to shape nuanced strategies so as to maintain Latinos as an integral part of the party's victories in days to come."

By Chris Cillizza  |  December 5, 2005; 12:04 PM ET
Categories:  Senate  
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i think corzine is telling menendez i ma going to make history by appointing Nia, and i will then leave it up to the voters in June and November. He knows menendez wont risk a safe seat for an unsure primary fight. andrews once again becomes a wildcard, and look for him to once again bow out.

Posted by: inside looking in | December 6, 2005 12:00 PM | Report abuse

The only people more jubilant then Bayonne Bear about a possible Menendez appointment is Tom Kean, Jr and the NRSC. It is only a matter of time before an ethics complaint is filed against Menendez based on what is out on the public record. The appointment to the Senate only expedites that time table because it is easier to file such a complaint in the Senate. Menendez will go down in flames leaving the D's scrambling to replace him on the ballot in the Fall.

I doubt the D's will be able to pull off a maneuver similar to the one orchestrated to swap the Torch for Lautenberg in 2002.

Ironically, maybe this is Corzine's Machiavellian master plan? Maybe he wants to be the only Dem in the state who is an attractive choice for national office? Although, I doubt being the Gov who appoints scandal-ridden Menendez who subsequently loses a formerly safe senate seat helps Corzine to improve his status among National Dems.

Posted by: Nick | December 6, 2005 10:58 AM | Report abuse

There's no question that Bob Menendez is the best choice for Senator. He's articulate. He's knowledgable about the issues and he's a tenacious fighter for his district and for New Jersey. He and Jon Corzine share a common vision of a better New Jersey and they will work well together. As Senator, Menendez will be a national leader in a somewhat lackluster Senate. Will Menendez play well in teh suburbs? ABSOLUTELY!. The same issue came up when he first ran for Congress and people wondered about how he would be accepted in non-hispanic Bayonne. Nowadays he's one of our most popular leaders. And on top of everything else, he's a really nice fellow and very accessible. Corzine couldn't do better then Bob Menendez.

Posted by: Bayonne Bear | December 6, 2005 10:24 AM | Report abuse

I also am hopeful that Corzine will appoint Nia Gill. I voted for her in the Daily Kos poll on this, and see that she is now winning 54% there.

Posted by: Sandwich Repairman | December 5, 2005 6:50 PM | Report abuse

2% of the senate is black, which is a disgrace. i hope corzine gives gill the nod.
I am a jersey boy and i would love nother more than to have my voice on the Hill be a woman's!

Posted by: jay lassiter | December 5, 2005 5:36 PM | Report abuse

I think it would be very foolish and ill-guided for Corzine to pick Menendez. He would almost neutralize the "culture of corruption" theme the Democcrats are trying to tie to the Republicans.

Corzine is a wimp if he bows down to Menendez.

Posted by: Mike E. | December 5, 2005 4:49 PM | Report abuse

after a complete vetting by the corzine team,menendez is found to be both lacking in ethical and moral standing

Posted by: the janitor | December 5, 2005 3:33 PM | Report abuse

Menendez will be the first appointed Senator who will have an ethics complaint waiting for him when he arrives in D.C. because of the problems pointed out by the NYT and Phila. Inquirer. Corzine knows this and cannot appoint him. Corzine is most likely moving away from Menendez or he would have appointed him by now.

Maybe that's what he told Menendez over the weekend and why Menendez rushed home from Puerto Rico?

Posted by: Clean Government | December 5, 2005 1:10 PM | Report abuse

Well, Menendez wouldn't be independent of Corzine at all. They're
joined at the hip; they're good friends who share the same condo
building in Hoboken. And their leftie politics are very similar.

When Menendez brings unquestionable strengths -- the Hispanic factor,
a sizeable war chest, a penchant for bare-knuckle campaigns -- he's
also tainted by association with the Hudson County machine. Like
Corzine, his relationship issue also involves a conflict of interest;
a staffer that went on to become a lobbyist that Menendez reputedly
steered contracts to, and which Menendez defends by saying that
she earned those contracts through dint of her hard work alone.

The Republicans can make hay at this for sure. The question is,
is Menendez savvy enough to take this on across the suburbs?


Posted by: rmck1 | December 5, 2005 12:50 PM | Report abuse

as usual with the Ds, sounds like Nia Gill was just lip service, anyway, Menendez probably would be the most independent from Corzine and thus retain the most political viability

Posted by: Bill from FL | December 5, 2005 12:35 PM | Report abuse

i think it's going to be nia gill. jc is going to take a leadership role for the dems here. talented and qualified minorities need to be represented in the party and he knows they need to reach out. those people have represented the party's traditional base and in the last election the republicans chipped away at the black, hispanic, and female vote. with an appointment of a smart and qualified minority woman, jc is showing that he and the democrats practice what they preach. i think if he picks gill, it makes him an even more attractive national candidate.

i bet he called menendez to let him know he wasn't going to be nominated and asked him not to run a primary.

Posted by: sam | December 5, 2005 12:31 PM | Report abuse

I voted for Corzine and for what it's worth I'd prefer Nia Gill or Rush Holt, although I'd hate to lose him as my rep.

Memendez has a lot of negatives, and I don't like his position re. Cuba. It's time for a change in that tune, and he's on the extreme side of that issue.

Posted by: bob | December 5, 2005 12:15 PM | Report abuse

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