Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., won re-election Tuesday, earning a second term with a victory over state Sen. Joe Kyrillos. The Associated Press called the race Tuesday night with results still coming in: Ballots will be coming in until Friday in New Jersey due to complications caused by Hurricane Sandy.
Kyrillos coasted to victory in the Republican primary, but trailed by double-digit margins in public polling throughout the race. Menendez enjoyed a significant fundraising advantage, and Kyrillos didn't advertise on network television until late October. The GOP challenger attempted to tie Menendez to Jon Corzine, the former New Jersey governor and Wall Street executive whose financial services firm MF Global filed for bankruptcy in 2011. Menendez targeted Kyrillos's votes in the state Senate during their debates, saying his 24 years in state government had done nothing to create jobs.
Kyrillos is close with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who has helped him with fundraising and joined him on the campaign trail. But the governor's efforts on his behalf weren't enough for the candidate to gain traction against Menendez.
For most of the cycle, the campaign flew under the radar, but last week Hurricane Sandy slammed New Jersey, devastating portions of the state and creating logistical difficulties for the election. Then on November 1, a conservative website report accused Menendez of hiring prostitutes (and under-paying them) in the Dominican Republic. Menendez's campaign has denied the accusations, and they failed to get much attention -- particularly with the state focused on hurricane recovery.