2006 N.J. U.S. Senate Race

Menendez handily defeats Kean

Sen. Robert Menendez, a Union City native who rose to national prominence in the Democratic Party, today beat back an unexpectedly fierce challenge to retain his Senate seat and become the first Hispanic elected to statewide office.

Menendez, appointed to the office last year, led his Republican rival, state Sen. Tom Kean Jr., by 10 points, 54 percent to 44 percent, with nearly three-quarters of precincts reporting.

"Tonight, the people of New Jersey embraced a new direction for our nation and rejected the politics of personal destruction," Menendez, flanked by his son and daughter, told a cheering crowd at the East Brunswick Hilton. "Thank you, New Jersey."

Hoboken Politicos Endorse Kean

"Politicians in Hudson County come and go, most go directly to jail, unfortunately some get away. The residents of Hudson County are good, decent and hard working people and truly deserve representatives who are honest, ethical and of strong moral character. Condoning suspected, proven, or associated ties to unethical or illegal activity and political corruption by our elected officials is what gives Hudson County a bad reputation. To change this reputation we need to choose candidates to replace those suspected or accused of wrong doings. As a 13 year veteran Hoboken police officer and president of the Hoboken Policemen's Benevolent Association, I proudly announce my personal endorsement of Tom Kean Jr., as our next U.S. Senator from New Jersey. Tom Kean Jr., is someone with unquestionable morals and ethical character who will in times of public crisis and threats to our home land security deliver strong and steady representation in Washington D.C. This election is not about partisan politics. For if it were, I being a registered democrat from Hudson County would not be supporting Tom Kean Jr. It is about something much more important. It's about the economic future and safety of our State and the Nation and electing someone right for achieving these objectives. And that someone is Tom Kean Jr."

–Vincent Lombardi from Hudson County
Union City, NJ

"I lived in Hudson County all my life. Since High school I've seen nothing but Democrats get hauled off to Jail. I'm a Democrat and have lost faith in ever reforming the local party. I want to remain a Dem, but keeping Bob in power will only keep the crooks around him flourishing. You folks need to work harder. I'm a former councilman who just called to offer help and your aides had no intrest? That attitude and you will lose."

–Tony Soares from Hudson County
Hoboken, NJ

Menendez: Lawyer's query to U.S. attorney prompts a new salvo from Kean

Republican state Sen. Tom Kean Jr. yesterday questioned why Democratic U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez would enlist the services of one the state's top defense lawyers if he isn't under a federal criminal investigation.

Menendez has said the lawyer, Joseph Hayden, contacted the U.S. attorney around the time a subpoena was issued for records from a federally funded nonprofit agency that paid more than $300,000 to rent a row house that Menendez owned in Union City.

Menendez: Waterfront Project Reflects 2 Images of a Senator

BAYONNE, N.J. — Senator Robert Menendez is not directly involved in building the new waterfront development that will soon rise here in the shadow of the Statue of Liberty. But his influence can be seen throughout it.

The project, which occupies the 437-acre site of the abandoned Military Ocean Terminal, is being built with the help of nearly $30 million in federal funds that Mr. Menendez secured using his trademark policy expertise and aggressive politicking. His work provided the seed money for a plan to produce movie studios and shops, marinas and waterfront parks, and 6,600 homes.

The project has also produced considerable work for some of his chief political supporters.

Menendez: Union City doctor alleges Menendez shakedown

Less than two weeks before the election, Union City psychiatrist Oscar Sandoval yesterday filed court papers accusing U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez of shaking him down for political contributions and jobs for others in exchange for "protection" of the doctor's county contracts.

The accusations were included in a request to add Menendez as a defendant in Sandoval's countersuit against Hudson County. The county, in a wide-ranging civil complaint filed in January, claims Sandoval received lucrative contracts at the county jail and psychiatric hospital after bribing former County Executive Robert Janis zewski, who is now in prison.

Speculation on Gay Marriage Ruling Swirls in New Jersey

TRENTON, Oct. 22 — The New Jersey Supreme Court is carrying much constitutional freight as it considers whether the state will be the second in the nation to find that gay couples have the right to marry. But for those watching the court, speculation has centered lately on smaller issues, like the chief justice’s birthday and the re-election prospects of Senator Robert Menendez.

Lawrence S. Lustberg, who argues frequently before the court and represents the gay plaintiffs in the case at hand, said the decision in the case, Lewis v. Harris, “is the most eagerly anticipated opinion” he has ever seen.

Menendez lead over Kean Jr. growing

Democratic U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez appears to have opened a significant lead over Republican challenger Tom Kean Jr. as voters focus more on the war in Iraq and the GOP's congressional scandals.

The latest Monmouth University/Gannett New Jersey poll shows Menendez's lead at nine percentage points. Nearly half of the likely voters, 48 percent, said they would vote for Menendez, while 39 percent said they would vote for Kean.

Liberman: A Nod to Lieberman (for a While, at Least)

A Nod to Lieberman (for a While, at Least)
October 20, 2006 The NYTimes

It was perhaps one of the most short-lived endorsements that Senator Joseph I. Lieberman has received in his independent quest for re-election.

On Wednesday night, the two United States Senate candidates in New Jersey addressed several hundred people at Temple Beth Shalom in Livingston, N.J., as part of a forum sponsored by the Metro West Jewish Federation.

Menendez backs Lieberman, for a few hours

JTA.org  Global News Service of the Jewish People
Menendez backs Lieberman, for a few hours
U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) withdrew an endorsement of Sen. Joe Lieberman (D-Conn.) hours after he made it to a Jewish audience.

Menendez caught on Lieberman fence

U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez's official position on the Connecticut Senate race is complicated enough.

He supported his fellow Democratic senator, Joseph Lieberman, when the Connecticut incumbent was challenged by Ned Lamont in the state's Democratic primary this past summer. But in their second face-off -- Lamont being the Democratic nominee and Lieberman an independent on the general election ballot -- Menendez backs Lamont.

It got even more complicated Wednesday night in Livingston, where Menendez spoke at a forum organized by the United Jewish Communities of MetroWest New Jersey. Menendez left the distinct impression with that audience that he supports Lieberman, who is Jewish.

Former Gov. Kean makes campaign appearance for son

UNION, N.J. (AP) -- With less than three weeks left in his son's U.S. Senate race, former Gov. Thomas H. Kean made his first major campaign appearance Wednesday and accused the Democratic incumbent of being unable to rise above a "culture of corruption."

While the former governor and chairman of the Sept. 11 commission stopped short of calling Sen. Bob Menendez corrupt, Kean said there is a "large cloud" over the Democrat because he was the political leader of the most corrupt county in the state, Hudson County.

Like his son, Kean asserted Menendez was under federal investigation, which Menendez has denied.

Menendez: Inquirer endorses Menendez for U.S. Senate

TRENTION, N.J. (AP) — The Philadelphia Inquirer on Sunday endorsed Democrat Robert Menendez for the U.S. Senate, praising him for having "the superior experience, intellect and grasp of the issues."

Noting that both Menendez and Republican challenger Tom Kean Jr. are better than the negative ads they have run during the campaign, the newspaper chose the 52-year-old Hudson County Democrat in what it termed a close call between two good choices.

Menendez "has fought successfully for prescription drug coverage, port security, and transportation and Amtrak funding. He has the leadership to get legislation passed," it wrote.

The Hudson County link figures big in Senate race

For ridicule both earned and unearned about corruption, congestion and crassness, the United States has New Jersey. And New Jersey has Hudson County.

This geographic abuse is often jovial, but it has become a serious part of this year's U.S. Senate race. Republican candidate Tom Kean Jr. frequently deploys the county as a catchphrase -- shorthand for something that must not be good, because he uses it in connection with his Democratic rival, Hudson County's own Bob Menendez.

2006 Senate Race: Gentlemen, Place your bets

Gentlemen, Place your bets

In an Associated Press article dated October 11, 2006, US Senate Republican candidate Tom Kean Jr. is quoted as saying "There is a subpoena that has his name [ Senator Bob Menendez] on it that was issued by an impaneled grand jury and delivered by the FBI," Kean said during an interview with the AP. "That's a fact."

In response, Menendez said "There are no such subpoenas to my knowledge whatsoever."

Stark contradiction or a play on words?

Kean says "That's a fact" while Menendez qualifies his denial with a legal escape clause "to my knowledge."

Gentlemen, Place your Bets........

10/13/2006 Asbury Park Press
The APP reported that Menendez has been subpoenaed by a federal grand jury to provide details of a lease agreement he signed with a nonprofit group that he helped get federal aid.

Read the Story at:  Embattled Bryant at rally for Menendez, Observer calls it  "a huge miscalculation"

2006 Senate Race: N.J. Senate Race: Anatomy Of A Smear Campaign

N.J. Senate Race: Anatomy Of A Smear Campaign
Marcia Kramer

(CBS) NEW YORK Everyone knows politics is a dirty affair. But it's rare for the public to see exactly how one candidate tries to gain advantage over another. CBS 2 takes you behind the scenes to see "The Anatomy Of A Smear." This one is about the war in Iraq and the New Jersey Senate campaign.

It began with a campaign dirty trick.

Let's Goto the Videos

2006 Senate: Kean camp outraged by guerrilla video

Ambush tactics, guerrilla camera work and light-speed video distribution became the latest flashpoint in the U.S. Senate race, as rival camps traded charges Monday about campaign techniques and fair play.

The issues arose after Jo Ann Sohl, the mother of a Marine, confronted Republican Tom Kean Jr. at a weekend event with pointed questions about the mounting carnage in Iraq.

An operative working for Democratic U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez filmed the exchange, and within hours Menendez's campaign launched its mass distribution on the Internet.

U.S. Senate 2006: Nation is watching our Senate race

Your pols in action: When it became clear Sen. Wayne Bryant, D-Camden, was in deep trouble growing out of the federal UMDNJ investigation and what appears to be a no-show job, the knee-jerk reaction was to circle the wagons and keep him in place as chairman of the powerful Senate budget committee.

Senate President Dick Codey, who defended keeping Bryant head of the committee, was singled out for practicing business as usual. Next thing you know, Bryant wrote Codey a letter signed "Yours in Humanity" asking to be replaced.

It has more to do with Sen. Bob Menendez than Bryant, who is considered one of the more greedy pols in the Statehouse. If the Democrats conclude Menendez, who is being pounded by state Sen. Tom Kean on ethics issues, is unelectable, don't be surprised if they pull another switcheroo, a la Lautenberg for Torricelli.

Business: Jersey-style

THEY WERE TWO Jersey guys, talking on the phone. Oscar and Donald. Psychiatrist and lawyer. An odd couple if ever there was one.

Oscar begins by asking Donald about a recent vacation trip.

"It was good. It was real nice," Donald says.

He goes on to note that he is "very happy" and "very, very content" -- and then, with a laugh, Donald adds one more thing:

"But I'm back to reality."

The odd reality of psychiatrist Oscar Sandoval and attorney Donald Scarinci, captured on tape in February 1999, may actually determine who New Jersey's next U.S. senator will be.

FBI INFORMANT: Lobs 1999 ethics accusation at Sen. Menendez RACE GETS ROUGHER

TRENTON — The campaign of U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., was once again dogged by ethics accusations Thursday after an FBI informant released audiotapes of Menendez adviser Donald Scarinci pressuring the informant — in Menendez's name — to rehire a former employee or risk losing $1 million in Hudson County contracts.

Union City psychiatrist Oscar Sandoval, 55, says he was pressured in 1999 by Scarinci to hire a doctor, Vicente Ruiz. In a recorded conversation, Scarinci told Sandoval that Menendez, then a congressman representing Hudson County, would consider it "a favor." Failure to do so would result in "the law of the jungle" prevailing, Scarinci said.

• Sandoval Speaks For Himself


Menendez uproar stirs speculation As the senator's backers lash at critics, the GOP suggests he'll leave race

For the second time this month, ethical questions rocked the U.S. Senate race in New Jersey, as Democrats rolled out the Gatling guns to take aim at critics of Sen. Robert Menendez and Republicans fanned talk of the senator dropping out of the race.

The frenetic state of the campaign came after yesterday's disclosure that Menendez's longtime friend and fund-raiser Donald Scarinci was secretly taped asking a psychiatrist with government contracts in Hudson County to hire a doctor as a "favor" to Menendez.

Menendez linked on tape to gov't contracts scheme

WASHINGTON (AP) — A childhood friend and close political adviser of Democratic Sen. Robert Menendez used the senator's name to pressure a doctor to share his county government contract, and the doctor believed some of the money would be kicked back to Menendez, according to a transcript of the telephone call and court documents. Menendez campaign spokesman Matthew Miller called the allegations "completely false."

The transcript of the 1999 conversation, obtained Thursday by The Associated Press, depicts an expletive- and chuckle-laden chat between Donald Scarinci, Menendez's friend and adviser, and Oscar Sandoval, a psychiatrist who taped the exchange as part of his work as an FBI informant in a criminal investigation of several northern New Jersey politicians.

Menendez: Audio: Tape adds to Menendez ethics debate

The following conversation was tape recorded by Dr. Oscar Sandoval, a North Jersey psychiatrist and former FBI informant, with lawyer Donald Scarinci in early 1999.

In it, Scarinci tells Sandoval that then U.S. Rep. Robert Menendez, now a member of the U.S. Senate, wanted him to hire a psychiatrist named Vicente Ruiz. Sandoval said the conversation amounted to a veiled threat. The implication was that he might lose his county contracts if he did not go along.

He also tells Sandoval that Hudson County government will not increase payments to cover the new position.

In this excerpt, Scarinci tells Sandoval that Menendez would consider it a favor if he hired Ruiz.

Scarinci says he got involved in the matter at Menendez's request.

Scarinci tells Sandoval that hiring the doctor will afford "protection." Sandoval has said that Scarinci was implying that he could protect his contracts with Hudson County if he hired the doctor.

Listening notes: To listen to this clip, you'll need one of these media players installed on your computer:

(free download)

Windows Media Player
(free download)

Source: Philadelphia Inquirer  9/27/06

Bribes, Payoffs, Politics: Tapes could be trouble for Menendez

The psychiatrist at the center of recent Hudson County corruption cases recorded U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez's close ally invoking the powerful Democrat's name while pressuring the doctor to divvy up county contracts, he and several others said Wednesday.

Dr. Oscar Sandoval, who bribed and then helped imprison a former county executive, said he made tapes that back up his earlier allegations that attorney and Menendez friend Donald Scarinci ordered him to share his county jail contracts with another physician, or else lose them.

Codey to replace Menendez in US Senate Race????

Word leaking out of Trenton by a past reliable source is that there is a strong push for Codey to replace Menendez in the US Senate race by the weekend. 

Bribes, Payoffs, Politics: Menendez dumps key adviser caught on tape seeking 'favors'

U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez's closest political adviser was secretly recorded seven years ago boasting of political power and urging a Hudson county contractor to hire somone as a favor to Menendez, according to a transcript obtained by The Star-Ledger.

Menendez's campaign said last night he had severed his ties with the adviser, Donald Scarinci, after learning of the taped conversation. The two men were childhood friends and Scarinci, a prominent attorney with extensive contracts in state and local governments, has been a key fundraiser for the senator throughout his long political career.

New Jersey Switcheroo

For pure entertainment value, not much can compete with the blood sport of New Jersey politics. Last week federal investigators launched a probe into whether U.S. Senator Robert Menendez illegally benefited to the tune of more than $300,000 from a rental-income deal he had with a nonprofit agency that received millions of dollars in federal contracts. Even liberal good government groups agree that the relationship may have violated congressional conflict-of-interest rules.

2006 NJ US Senate Election: He was no Cher, and Democrats were not sunny

She wore a slinky black dress with silver sparkles, just like Cher.

She had curly black hair, too. And canned music so she could sing along with Cher's greatest hits.

But this was not your traditional impersonator. Because underneath it all, this lady was a man.

And that created a ruckus when she arrived at the Democratic Party convention in Atlantic City last week to sing and dance at the meeting of the gay caucus.

"We said listen, this is Atlantic City and it's a pretty irreverent place," says Steve Goldstein, founder of Garden State Equality, the state's leading gay-rights organization. "So let's have a little fun, and be a little campy."

Menendez: The Ties That Link Developers and Elected Officials

Any developer knows that success in the real estate business takes persistence, good instincts and not a small amount of luck. Connections can help, too.