NEW BRUNSWICK – U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez defeated Republican challenger state Sen. Joe Kyrillos (R-13) 58-40% with 99% of precincts reporting.
Menendez won the lopsided contest on a ticket with President Barack Obama, who easily won New Jersey on his way to re-election victory nationally.
The Obama-Menendez top-of-the-ticket romp benefited Democrats in key county contests. Democrats won control of Bergen County, picked up two seats on the Burlington County Freeholder Board, and had a good night locally in Monmouth County.
Menendez starred at the Democrats’ Heldrich Hotel party, making his victory speech early, hours prior to the President’s declaration of victory in Illinois.
His son introduced him and with Bruce Springsteen blaring, the senator jogged up onto the stage in front of the American Flag.
“Sen. Kyrillos called me and wished me well,” said Menendez, “and I wish him the same. I look forward to working with him to rebuild (storm-ravaged New Jersey).”
Menendez would likely not say later that he meant to endorse Republican Gov. Chris Christie’s re-election, but he had love in abundance tonight.
“With the leadership of President Obama and Governor Christie’s leadership at home, we will rebuild the Garden State,” said the senator.
Menendez went on after State Party Chairman John Wisniewski (D-19) introduced victorious Democrats, including U.S. Rep. Rush Holt (D-12), U.S. Rep. Albio Sires (D-8), and U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone (D-6).
U.S. Rep-elect Donald Payne Jr. arrived with his uncle, former Assemblyman Bill Payne.
Payne Jr. is headed to Congress to fill the 10th Congressional seat occupied for over two decades by his father, the late Donald Payne, Sr.