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Eyes on 2024:  Menendez indictment fallout continues

Democratic Rep. Andy Kim said he would launch a primary challenge against Menendez following his indictment on bribery and corruption charges.


Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., is expected to hold a press conference Monday as he faces mounting calls to resign following his Friday indictment on bribery and conspiracy charges, NBC News’ Julie Tsirkin reports. 

Menendez called the allegations “baseless” on Friday.

The press conference is expected to be held “in Hudson County, NJ, where he got his start in politics, according to a source directly involved with the planning,” Tsirkin writes. “Menendez is expected to say he does not intend to resign, the source adds.”

Top Democrats, including New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy and Pennsylvania Sen. John Fetterman, have called on Menendez to step down, though other Democratic senators have been slow to join them.

Menendez, who is up for re-election next year, defiantly responded to calls to resign on Friday, saying in a statement, “I am not going anywhere.” That prompted Rep. Andy Kim, D-N.J., to announce that he would challenge the three-term senator in a primary

“Not something I expected to do, but NJ deserves better,” Kim wrote on X, the social media platform previously known as Twitter.  

Prior to the indictment, Menendez’s top-fundraising GOP challenger was Shirley Maia-Cusick, an immigration consultant who has largely been self-funding her campaign. Post-indictment, the GOP field to take on Menendez will at least not include former New Jersey GOP Gov Chris Christie, who told “Meet the Press” on Sunday that he has “no interest in being in the United States Senate.” 

Menendez, meanwhile, is preparing for a legal battle, hiring attorney Abbe Lowell, per CNBC. Lowell is also defending Hunter Biden and also worked for Menendez when he faced corruption charges in 2015. 

In other campaign news … 

Sputtering anti-Trump effort: NBC News’ Vaughn Hillyard and Ben Kamisar report that “the hypothetical anti-Trump calvary within the Republican Party has yet to materialize, and GOP strategists tell NBC News that it may be too late.” 

Spoiler alert: Team Biden is increasingly concerned that third-party presidential bids could spoil his chances of winning re-election next year, per NBC News’ Jonathan Allen and Carol E. Lee. Speaking of third parties, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., who is waging a long-shot primary bid against Biden, met privately with the Libertarian Party chairwoman in July, per the New York Times.

Strike politics: Biden’s visit to Michigan Tuesday to support striking auto workers “comes as he struggles to carve a meaningful role for himself in a crisis that could damage his re-election prospects,” write NBC News’ Peter Nicholas, Monica Alba and Megan Lebowitz. On the Republican side, the United Auto Workers president filed a complaint against Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., who praised former President Ronald Reagan’s decision to fire federal workers who went on strike.  

Debatable: North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum appears to have met the Republican National Committee’s polling thresholds to qualify for this week’s GOP debate (but the RNC has the final say). The RNC has raised the polling and donor thresholds for the third debate in early November. 

Pressure campaign: Top Democratic officials, donors and supporters lobbied Biden over the migrant crisis, and the administration announced last week it would grant temporary protected status to undocumented Venezuelan migrants, per NBC News’ Melissa Russo and Julia Ainsley. 

New Hampshire or bust: Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is the only GOP presidential candidate who has not campaigned in Iowa as he goes all-in on New Hampshire, per NBC News’ Emma Barnett.

DeSantis at Guantánamo: The New York Times explores the “unfounded claim” that DeSantis mistreated detainees while he served at Guantánamo Bay as a Navy lawyer. 

Nevada gamble: The Nevada GOP voted over the weekend to approve rules changes that could bolster Trump as the state party vows to hold a caucus in February, discouraging candidates from participating in a state-run primary, per the AP. Trump’s campaign is reportedly committed to participating in the caucus. 

Show me the money: Some donors who participated in Miami Mayor Francis Suarez’s fundraising gimmick, where he offered gift cards in exchange for a campaign donation, are still waiting for their money.

Tester’s test: Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., has campaigned as an “ethics crusader,” but his record “hasn’t always aligned with the narrative he has cultivated, nor has it always met the high standards he has set for himself and proposed for others,” writes NBC News’ Henry J. Gomez.

Sinema’s path: Sen. Kyrsten Sinema’s political team has started laying out her path to victory if the Independent Arizona senator decides to run for re-election, according to a memo obtained by NBC News’ Sahil Kapur. 

Abortion ads: Republicans are going on offense on abortion in Virginia’s legislative races, launching a new digital ad campaign aiming to paint Democrats as extreme on the issue, NBC News’ Gary Grumbach and Ryan Nobles report.