Port Authority Commissioner Robert Menendez, Jr., the son of U.S. Senator Bob Menendez, is all but assured a victory in the heavily Democratic 8th district but a progressive leader is celebrating victory in her campaign to deny the crooked lawmaker’s unqualified offspring the endorsement of a national grassroots organization.
Lisa McCormick, who was the only New Jersey Democrat to challenge Menendez in the 2018 primary election, said that MoveOn.org appears to have abandoned its move to give an endorsement to the Senator’s son, who was plucked from obscurity to replace Rep. Albio Sires in Congress and given a free pass from the political establishment.
Jersey City Councilwoman Amy DeGise, who was then Hudson County Democratic chair, filed legal challenges that knocked two Democrats off the ballot —law professor Eugene Mazo and North Bergen businessman Brian Varella—after they filed petitions to seek the Democratic nomination in New Jersey’s 8th Congressional District.
DeGise has since earned widespread scorn after she was involved in an apparent hit-and-run incident but Menendez has conspicuously avoided joining in demands for her resignation.
The only New Jersey candidate listed on the organization’s website is Rep. Andy Kim, who is seeking a third term in a south Jersey district that stretches from Philadelphia’s eastern suburbs to the Jersey Shore.
McCormick called on progressive activists to speak out against the potential endorsement in September because the younger Menendez “has accepted dirty campaign money, pledged to back a pro-war agenda and represents everything MoveOn.org is against.”
MoveOn’s national staff initially approved the endorsement but the final decision was up to MoveOn members, and McCormick raised a rallying cry urging them to register their disapproval.
“Rob Menendez Jr. has accepted campaign cash from every greedy, dirty lobbyist or corporate donor from BRG PAC, which is associated with former Republican National Committee Chairman and Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour, to corporate crooks like insurance companies and big pharmaceutical firms,” said McCormick.
A large portion of Rob Menendez Jr.’s campaign funding has come from pro-war groups that have defended human rights abuses such as DMFI PAC, AIPAC, and Pro-Israel America, which are groups that endorsed as many Republicans as Democrats, even most of the Sedition Caucus.
Despite his criminal conduct, Senator Menendez remains a powerful and influential figure in Hudson County and New Jersey politics.
The U.S. Senator and Florida ophthalmologist Salomon Melgen were indicted on April 1, 2015, in connection with a bribery scheme in which Menendez allegedly accepted gifts from Melgen in exchange for using the power of his Senate office to benefit the doctor’s financial and personal interests.
An 11-week trial ended with a hung jury in 2017 and McCormick earned four out of ten votes in her grassroots 2018 Democratic primary challenge to Senator Menendez.
“For more than two decades, MoveOn members have organized and mobilized together, putting our collective people power to work to build a country and world where everyone can thrive,” said one active member of the nationwide grassroots organization.
“Robert Menendez, Jr. is a wealthy, privileged senator’s son who shares the hawkish, conservative values of his Cuban upbringing and the ethical perversion exhibited by his father and described in detail in his 2015 criminal indictment,” said the MoveOn member. “Menendez is not the kind of candidate who deserves our support and in his ultra-safe Democratic district, he doesn’t need it.”
McCormick said Democrats and independent citizens who are affiliated with MoveOn.org should act to make Andy Kim’s endorsement from the group more meaningful by volunteering with the campaign.
Kim, who received a Rhodes Scholarship and a Harry S. Truman Scholarship to study international relations at Magdalen College, Oxford; was raised in the district, graduating from Cherry Hill High School East in 2000.
Kim was a civilian adviser to Generals David Petraeus and John R. Allen in Afghanistan before becoming an official with the United States National Security Council under President Barack Obama.
Kim’s district twice voted for Republican Donald Trump, and the congressman is being challenged by GOP yacht salesman Robert Healey Jr., who has loaned his campaign $1,260,000
“If you think a yacht salesman can better protect communities from violent criminals than an expert adviser to America’s top military commanders and the National Security Council because the congressman voted to prevent police officers from murdering US citizens, you are living in Fantasyland,” said McCormick, who said the grassroots group is better off investing its resources helping Kim fend off his multi-millionaire challenger, who wants to privatize Social Security.