The unaccomplished 36-year-old son of Senator Bob Menendez, Rob Menendez Jr., has a distinct financial advantage in the 8th congressional district, but he let his cowardice show by ducking the debate sponsored by the progressive Democratic wing in Jersey City last week.
Menendez, the first defense witness at the 2017 criminal trial of U.S. Senator Bob Menendez, raised a staggering $839,257 for his congressional race but if voters pay attention he could still lose to David Ocampo Grajales, one of the Democratic contenders left in the contest after the political establishment knocked two others off the ballot with petition challenges.
The Senator’s spoiled, rich son shows no interest in addressing the frailty of the U.S. economy, weakness in our democracy or the intersecting crises of wealth inequality, climate change, or systemic white supremacy that has been exposed during the pandemic.
Voters who were not already put off by the political princeling’s inherent inadequacy should be offended by the arrogance of someone who had skipped debates like Congressman Joe Crowley did to disastrous effect when he was challenged by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
It is true that Ocampo Grajales only reported raising $25,464 in the first quarter, leaving him with $16,471 in cash on hand.
Ocampo Grajales’ fundraising lags far behind that of the corrupt U.S. Senator’s son, but his debate performance showed that as a congressional candidate, he is superior to Amistad Commission member Ane Roseborough-Eberhard in every way.
While Roseborough-Eberhard seems to be a nice person, she is comfortable with the existing policies of the mainstream despite a losing track record that is making a Republican victory in the midterms and even a return to the White House for President Donald Trump seem very likely.
Roseborough-Eberhard also looks clueless about the undertaking of getting in an election with Menendez.
It’s surprising that she got this far after two other would-be candidates, Brian Varela and law professor Eugene Mazo, didn’t make it to the ballot after Menendez allies successfully challenged their petition signatures.
Menendez was given a virtual coronation ever since the Rep. Albio Sires (D-West New York) announced his retirement in the 8th district.
The crooked Senator’s son was awarded the county Democratic lines even before declared his candidacy.
But his failure to appear before the voters at the debate, moderated by John Heines and 2020 Sires challenger Hector Oseguera, puts Menendez Jr. in a position much like that of Crowley, the Democratic Caucus Chair who lost the 2018 primary in New York to Ocasio-Cortez, widely known as AOC.
Like Ocampo Grajales, AOC faced a steep financial disadvantage, but her campaign’s grassroots mobilization did not rely primarily on money as much as muscle.
The inordinate frustration and anger among working middle-class voters who have been cheated by the political establishment —one that has allowed criminals like his father to escape accountability and denied citizens a hand in selecting representation by forcing on the public such poor choices as Menendez Jr.— fueled a volunteer-driven movement that toppled the wealthy establishment politician.
Ocampo Grajales has racked up an impressive list of endorsements, from Peace Action to Friends of the Earth, among other well-known progressive Democratic groups.
Ocampo Grajales was also included on the inaugural list of Green New Deal Champions, candidates who commit to supporting the most progressive climate policy in partnership with over 40 organizations including Sunrise Movement, Working Families Party, Friends of Earth Action, and Our Revolution.
Roseborough-Eberhard had no fundraising to report and so far, she has announced zero endorsements.