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Menendez Jr. officially announces his candidacy for Congress in the 8th district of New Jersey

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Robert Menendez Jr., son of U.S. Senator Bob Menendez, attends an event to kick off his father’s re-election at Union City High School on Wednesday, March 28, 2018 in Union City, NJ Julio Cortez / AP Photo

More than two weeks after Hudson County politicians backed his candidacy for Congress, Robert Menendez Jr. made it official.

The Democratic attorney and recently appointed board member of the New York and New Jersey Port Authority officially announced his candidacy Thursday, making him the overwhelming favorite, retired Representative Albio Sires (DN.J.) in New Jersey’s heavily Democratic 8th District.

Menendez Jr., 36, is the son of Sen. Bob Menendez (DN.J.), who held the seat in the house before the Sires.

“This is a generational moment. As we move forward in a time of insurrection, global pandemic and economic uncertainty will define the America we leave to our children and will make us all work together to be successful, “Menendez Jr. said in a statement . “With our future and that of our children at stake, we can no longer sit on the sidelines. That is why I am running for Congress and I ask you to join me in this fight. “

Context: Hudson County’s politicians began to back Menendez Jr. as soon as Sires announced his resignation on December 20, but he hadn’t raised his candidacy by Thursday. Governor Phil Murphy also backed the younger Menendez before declaring.

Some have grappled with the candidacy being orchestrated by political bosses rather than a public wave of support. Menendez Jr.’s only government experience is in the Port Authority, which he joined last year. But his father is one of the most powerful politicians in New Jersey and especially in Hudson County, which dominates the 8th district.

What’s Next: District progressives critical of the Hudson County’s Democratic machine have vowed to field a lead challenger to Menendez Jr., but the ingrained ballots and financial advantages of the Democrats, as well as Menendez Jr.’s notoriety, make everyone possible challenge an uphill battle.

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