TRENTON — One day after federal prosecutors announced an indictment against New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez, a challenger has emerged looking to take his place.

The surprise announcement comes from U.S. Rep. Andy Kim, D-N.J., 3rd District. He was the first major Democrat to call on Menendez, D-N.J., to resign after felony charges were unveiled Friday.

A detailed indictment accuses the 69-year-old Menendez, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, of taking hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes, including $100,000 in gold bars found during a search of his home.

Photo included in the indictment of Menendez (Townsquare Media illustration)
Photo included in the indictment of Menendez (Townsquare Media illustration)

The three-term senator faces calls to resign from top state Democrats including Gov. Phil Murphy and Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin, D-Middlesex, and several Democrats in New Jersey's House Delegation including Reps. Donald Norcross, Josh Gottheimer, Frank Pallone, Bill Pascrell, Mikie Sherrill and Bonnie Watson Coleman.

Sen. John Fetterman, D-P.A., was the first senator to call on Menendez to resign. He said in a statement Saturday that he hopes Menendez "chooses an honorable exit."

Who is NJ Rep. Andy Kim?

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Kim, the first Asian American elected to federal office in New Jersey, is serving his third term in the House of Representatives. He first won the seat in 2018.

Kim was born in Boston in 1982 to Korean immigrants, who then moved to New Jersey. He graduated from Cherry Hill High School East in 2000, according to his Congressional biography.

He began fundraising for his Senate run Saturday on X, formerly known as Twitter.

"I feel compelled to run against him. Not something I expected to do, but NJ deserves better. We cannot jeopardize the Senate or compromise our integrity," Kim said in a statement.

NJ Republican looks to unseat Sen. Menendez

Kim is not the only New Jersey representative who sees Menendez's senate seat as vulnerable.

On Saturday, Rep. Jeff Van Drew, R-N.J., 2nd District, said to that he was seriously considering a senate run. He said the indictment offered a "unique opportunity for New Jersey Republicans" to win next year's senate election, according to the conservative website founded by Matt Rooney.

The report said that Van Drew had received "hundreds" of phone calls urging him to run.

Election 2020 RNC Congress

Van Drew, a former Democrat, switched parties in 2019 when he was the only member of his party from New Jersey to not support the first impeachment of President Donald Trump.

Another Republican with less name recognition has already announced her run for the 2024 senate primary.

Christine Serrano Glassner, the mayor of Mendham in Morris County, on Monday, said that New Jersey deserved a senator with "integrity." At the time, it was known that Menendez was facing a third investigation but the indictment had not yet been announced.

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