Menendez sending a message with $7 million war chest

Though no challenger has yet emerged U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez is not taking his re-election bid lightly.

Menendez is set to report a $7 million war chest when the next round of Federal Election commission filings are posted.  The Democratic senator raised $1.7 million in the third quarter, putting him on pace to easily break $10 million before his 2012 contest.

Menendez’s war chest dwarfs his haul of six years ago when he faced state Sen. Tom Kean Jr.  With a year to go in that contest, Menendez had just over $4 million in the bank.

To date no Republican challenger has emerged but several potential candidates are circling, including state Sens. Joe Kyrillos and Michael Doherty.  Jets owner Woody Johnson also is said to be weighing a run.

Last week, a Democratic primary challenger, Tinton Falls resident Gwen Diakos, jumped into the ring.  Diakos, who was a Republican until switching her party registration in June, is a newcomer to the political scene. 

  Menendez sending a message with $7 million war chest