Representative Rob Menendez
Rob Menendez is the only Latino currently representing New Jersey in the U.S. House of Representatives US House of Representatives

NEW YORK CITY - Hispanic Democrats in Congress are standing behind Rep. Rob Menendez (D-N.J.) as he occupies the seat once held by his father, Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), who is leaving the party following an indictment for corruption.

The Congressional Hispanic Caucus issued a statement affirming their full support for the Freshman Representative, who is facing a serious primary challenge from Hoboken Mayor Ravi Bhalla.

"As the only Latino currently representing New Jersey in the U.S. House of Representatives, Congressman Rob Menendez has fought tirelessly for the Latino community," said Rep. Linda Sanchez, who chairs Bold PAC, the CHC's campaign arm.

"He is a proven leader on the issues that matter most to our community, like making life more affordable, lowering prescription drug prices and ensuring that health care remains affordable and accessible, protecting reproductive freedom and more," she continued.

The younger Menendez is a former commissioner of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. He was elected to the House in 2022 after the retirement of former Rep. Albio Sires (D), as part of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus's largest freshman class ever, The Hill reports.

Senator Menendez Concerned
Bob Menendez (D-NJ) in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee POOL via AFP / BONNIE CASH/BONNIE CASH

He has come under the spotlight frequently this year as his father's corruption allegations created a power vacuum in New Jersey. The senior Menendez had held elected office since 1986, going on to become one of the state's most prominent Democratic politicians.

Following the indictments, the Senator is not currently running for reelection in the Democratic primary, but has said he will consider running as a Democratic independent in the general election if he's able to shake off his allegations by the summer.

Now, as eyes continue to be on the Menendez family, CHC members remain eager to keep their numbers up and growing. In 2022, Menendez joined the CHC along with eight other freshmen members from districts in nine different states, according to The Hill.

Two House CHC members, Democratic Reps. Grace Napolitano and Toni Cardenas, are retiring from Congress at the end of this term. A third, Rep. Ruben Gallego, a former Bold PAC chair, is leaving his seat to run for Senate.

The CHC's Senate footprint will likely be taking a hit from the possible retirement of the senior Menendez, according to The Hill.

Ahead of the primaries the junior politician is facing opposition from Bhalla and businessman Kyle Jasey. So far, polls are showing mixed results. At least one super PAC-commissioned poll reported by the New Jersey Globe showed Bhalla leading earlier this month. Another poll from February showed Menendez with a double-digit lead.

As Menendez's competition heats up, CHC members are keen to keep him on board, particularly as he's built a reputation as a straight-talker who can deliver a punch across the aisle.

"Rob is uniquely positioned to defend working families against extreme MAGA Republicans' constant attacks on health care, immigration, and our basic rights. He is a strong voice and a staunch advocate for the people of New Jersey and that's why I'm proud to support him in his reelection," said Rep. Pete Aguilar, who is the highest-ranking Latino in the House.

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