Kyrillos has new role on Chamber train

State Sen. Joe Kyrillos boarded the train to Washington as a newly minted candidate for U.S. Senate and became a featured attraction for the train faithful.

For those who braved the hordes for the traditional walk from one end of the train to the other, Kyrillos’ car was a must stop.

Kyrillos, of Monmouth County, said he’s looking forward to the coming year of campaigning against Democratic incumbent Bob Menendez.  He could be facing a primary from former Highlands Borough Mayor Anna Little, but at this point, he said, he’s focused on Menendez.

“If I have a primary, so be it, but I’m really focused on running against Menendez,” he said.  Asked his chances of pulling out a victory against Menendez, Kyrillos was upbeat.

“I think our chances are good, but it depends on what people are looking for,” he said.  “If they’re looking for an alternative, they will vote for me.”

Kyrillos reportedly has raised nearly $1 million over the past year, but was noncommittal on the amount he’ll need to seriously challenge the incumbent, who at last reporting had $7 million on hand and is likely approaching the $10 million mark.

“People tell me different things, you hear different numbers,” said Kyrillos, who reportedly is holding his first official fundraiser in early February.

Recent polls show Kyrillos down to Menendez by more than 10 points, but Kyrillos is sanguine about those results with 10 months to go before the election.

“That poll showed us equal with Anna Little and a generic Republican and that’s fine,” he said.  “What that poll really showed with Menendez at 43 percent is that he’s a weak incumbent.  A strong incumbent is over 50 percent, especially when he’s been around so long.”