Gold Bar Blues: The Ballad of Bob and Andy

You have to wonder if donors can contribute with gold bars.

CNN and other media outlets reported a few days ago that a political action committee tied to Bob Menendez is planning a fundraiser later this month at the Ritz-Carlton Dorado Beach hotel in Puerto Rico.

One is reminded – a bit ironically – of a line Menendez used in 2018, the last time he ran for reelection against Bob Hugin, a one-time pharma executive. Accusing Hugin’s old company of being less than candid about side effects of some drugs, Menendez said in a debate:

“Who does that?”

Well, now it’s 2023 and despite serious accusations of bribery, a posh fundraiser – far outside New Jersey by the way – is on tap to benefit Menendez.

Who does that?

The news here – other than the audacity of it all  – is that Menendez apparently plans to run next year for reelection.

One group in New Jersey delighted with that prospect are, obviously, state Republicans.

As everyone knows, a GOP senator from New Jersey has not been elected for more than 50 years. Running against Menendez would be the best news on this front Republicans have had in decades.

Still, it seems unlikely.

Democrats throughout the state are calling on Menendez to resign. And it’s pretty tough to win primaries – even as an incumbent – without support from the party organization.

To that end, Rep. Andy Kim  (CD-3) popped up this morning on CNN.

He announced a run for the Senate soon after Menendez was indicted 10 days ago. And to his credit, Kim made his move a few hours before Phil Murphy called for the senator’s resignation, thereby opening the floodgates for lesser lights to do the same.

Kim in his interview spoke about already raising more than $1 million in campaign cash for a Senate run.

“It’s been incredible seeing an outpouring of folks all over the country,” said Kim, whose district covers Burlington, Mercer and Monmouth counties. “I’m excited about the energy.”

There are, of course, things going on in Washington beside the troubles of the state’s senior senator.

Kim was asked his views of Speaker Kevin McCarthy. What’s relevant here is the possibility McCarthy would need help from Democrats to keep his job.

To that, the congressman replied:

“Kevin McCarthy’s job security is not (at) the top of the list of my priorities.”

Kim gave the impression any deal between the Speaker and House Democrats would require a lot.

He said that in his view, McCarthy has been on the wrong side of many issues – health care, climate change and abortion rights.

So if there is a deal in the works, Kim said Dems need to get something meaningful and significant if they’re going to save McCarthy’s job.

Then again, Kim reiterated that McCarthy’s future is not “something that’s taken up any of my bandwidth.”

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