Politics

New Jersey mayor with ties to Trump announces campaign to take on Bob Menendez

Christine Serrano-Glassner, a New Jersey mayor who has political ties to former President Donald Trump, on Monday announced her campaign for the Republican 2024 U.S. Senate nomination.

Serrano-Glassner, the mayor of Mendham Borough in Morris County, hopes to challenge 18-year incumbent Democrat Bob Menendez, who’s facing his third federal investigation since entering the Senate in 2006.

“Senator Menendez has been in politics his entire life. He’s under investigation yet again,” Glassner says in a campaign kickoff video. ”New Jersey deserves someone with integrity, someone who will work hard to tackle the tough problems that are facing all of us. Someone who will put us first. Someone who cares more about our families — our New Jersey families — than his cronies.”

Republicans haven’t won a U.S. Senate election in New Jersey since 1972, though some state Democrats are nervous that the latest federal investigation, which involves probing how an Edgewater-based company got an exclusive government contract in Egypt to certify Halal meat, will endanger Menendez’s reelection prospects.

Menendez has said he intends to seek reelection, and most state Democrats appear to be backing him. That could change if he faces charges.

But Serrano-Glassner’s ties to Trump could also be a political vulnerability in New Jersey, where Trump backlash helped Menendez coast to an 11-point victory over Republican Bob Hugin in 2018, even though Menendez had just survived a corruption trial after the jury deadlocked.

Serrano-Glassner is a principal and co-founder of C&M Transcontinental, a public affairs firm. Her husband, Michael Glassner, is the firm’s president. Michael Glassner served as chief operating officer and deputy campaign manager for Trump from July 2015 until November 2020. He is currently leading a Trump legal defense fund, according to reports.

Menendez adviser Michael Soliman seized on the Trump ties in a statement.

“Here’s the thing that New Jersey’s voters will quickly learn — the mayor is a hardcore, unapologetic Trump supporter,” Soliman said. “Even after Trump pushed an insurrection, even after he bragged about helping to end Roe v. Wade and even after he cozies up to Vladimir Putin, mayor Serrano-Glassner is all in on Trump. She is clearly out of touch with New Jerseyans. Bob Menendez knows New Jersey — his record of achievement and advocacy for our state is simply unmatched.”

Serrano-Glassner was elected to the Mendham Borough council in 2016 and mayor in 2018. Mendham Borough, which has a population of about 5,000, is bordered on three sides by Mendham Township, which is home to former governor and 2024 Republican presidential candidate Chris Christie.

“As a fighter for New Jersey residents and businesses throughout my career in federal and state government and based on my experience as a mom and a mayor, I am ready to go to work,” Serrano-Glassner said in a statement. “We need a leader to fight for the hardworking men and women of New Jersey — and for America. I am that leader, and I will defeat Bob Menendez and end his career of cronyism.”

Serrano-Glassner is the first Republican elected official to declare her candidacy against Menendez. Three others — Shirley Maia-Cusick, an immigration attorney; Gregg Mele, who ran for governor as a libertarian in 2021; and educator Dan Cruz, a former member of the Andover Regional Board of Education — have filed campaign paperwork with the Federal Election Commission.

Menendez so far faces just one challenger in the Democratic primary: Kyle Jasey, a Jersey City real estate lender and son of outgoing Assemblymember Mila Jasey (D-Essex).

Republicans haven’t won a U.S. Senate election in New Jersey since 1972.  

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