Alex Zdan built a respected career in New Jersey as a corruption-fighting journalist, and now he wants to go to the United States Senate to continue that work, this time with subpoena power.
In the aftermath of sitting U.S. Senator Bob Menendez’s (D-NJ) corruption meltdown, and amid Governor Phil Murphy’s efforts to shoehorn his wife into that statewide seat, Zdan formally kicked off his U.S. Senate campaign this morning with an ad that features him walking around Nogales on the U.S.-Mexican border.
A conservative Republican, Zdan champions a crackdown on illegal immigration – and a takedown of Democratic Party excess and corruption in his home state.
“I’ll say this about the governor,” Zdan said in reference to Phil Murphy, “he’s consistently anti-democratic, abusing the public trust as governor.”
First, through executive order during COVID, said the GOP candidate.
“Then, to get a member of his family a U.S. Senate seat,” he added, referencing First Lady Tammy Murphy, frontrunner for the Democratic nomination to succeed Menendez, indicted as an alleged agent for Egypt and Qatar by the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Southern District of New York.
“Any husband would want to support his wife,” Zdan noted, with a twinge of sympathy.
But – “If you truly believe Tammy Murphy is the best candidate, resign as governor, hand over the state to Tahesha Way, and join your wife’s campaign as a senior advisor.”
Always a self-described conservative, Zdan formally registered as a Republican in October, 2023, after concluding his last gig in journalism, where he maintained independence from the two parties, and went viral as the guy who told an anti-media zealot to “buzz off.”
“The Murphy administration has made me more conservative,” he admitted. “Democratic Party control of my state has made me into more of a conservative. Everything is kicking the can down to the next election; the latest is jacking NJ Transit fares and raising taxes for hard-working families as he plots his escape strategy to Washington, D.C.”
As for Menendez, “a cartoonishly corrupt person,” by the candidate’s reckoning, the Democrats’ support for him over the years, including organizational fortification for his reelection bid after a jury hung itself sooner than reach a decision about his last set of corruption charges, adds up to one thing: “An indictment of the state Democratic Party,” said Zdan.
“If you’re in the Democratic Party and you did not recognize after the first indictment what you had here, then shame on them. I don’t think corruption is acceptable. That party stood by Menendez for far too long. I remember interviewing [U.S. Rep. and U.S. Senate candidate] Andy Kim and he told me he was ‘always on guard’ around Menendez, as if he’s dealing with a pickpocket at the train station.”
In a word, disgraceful, said the candidate.
What about former President Donald J. Trump, though, wallowing in indictments?
“I’m focused on running for the United States Senate in New Jersey,” said the former reporter, who is not at this time willing to endorse a presidential candidate.
Addressing the country’s immigration crisis, Zdan said he would aggressively step-up enforcement of a closed border and seek the prosecution of traffickers of drugs and people illegally crossing into the United States. He decries what he describes as the Democrats’ insistence on seeing the problem through a racial, not economic lens, and argues that Republicans, not Democrats, more clearly represent the interests of America’s working class.
As for leaving journalism to immerse himself in a political campaign, “There comes a time in every journalist’s career where they recognize they have influence but not power,” he said. “The work I had had [most recently as the host of News 12’s Power and Politics] had its limitations.
“I didn’t have subpoena power,” he added. “I realized that as journalist I can hold up a mirror, but I can’t paint a different picture.
Finally, his role doesn’t change that much.
He’s still looking to overturn the same troughs and ride herd on the same government-suckled fat-cats.
“I’m a corruption fighter. Who better to take on corruption at the highest level?” said Zdan, proud of his work in in the City of Trenton, breaking corruption stories about then-Mayor Tony Mack, and deep-dive pieces on Atlantic City corruption, including the corruption of then-Mayor Frank Gilliam, completed for this website.
He also remains proud to have challenged Murphy in the halls of power, calling himself the only member of the New Jersey press corps who expressed any kind of consistent skepticism on a daily basis.
“The fact that Governor Murphy never apologized to the families of seniors, tens of thousands of them who died in veterans’ homes and nursing homes, is unconscionable,” said Zdan. “The governor says he cares. I see no evidence of that. I believe it was [then-Senate President Steve] Sweeney’s finest moment when he shot down Murphy’s bid to extend his emergency powers.”
Raring to go, Zdan said, “I’m ready to serve.” At 38, he would be the second youngest U.S. Senator in the federal governing body and the youngest Republican.