Menendez faces challenge from New Jersey mayor with ties to Trump

A small town New Jersey mayor with with strong connections to the national GOP and former President Trump announced Monday she is running to unseat Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.).

Christine Serrano Glassner, the two-term mayor of Mendham Borough, announced her campaign in a statement ripping the Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman over his career of “cronyism.”

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“Today, I am announcing my decision to run for the U.S. Senate because New Jersey deserves better than this dark cloud of corruption that has been following Bob Menendez for a decade,” Serrano Glassner said in a statement.

“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. 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.”

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Menendez survived a federal corruption trial in 2017 with a deadlocked jury, but he is once again target of a public-corruption probe.

Serrano Glassner was the regional advocate for the U.S. Small Business Administration in former President George W. Bush’s administration. She was also a top executive at the Empire State Development Corp. under former New York Gov. George Pataki (R). 

Her husband, Michael Glassner, is a veteran GOP political strategist who was chief operating officer of Trump’s 2020 reelection bid. He was also involved in Trump’s successful 2016 nomination as a deputy campaign manager and political director. 

The twice-elected mayor also went after President Biden’s economic policies in her announcement and touched on some culture wars issues.

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“We need a fighter – someone who believes hardworking Americans matter, and who will stop Joe Biden’s failed economic policies,” she said. “Someone who believes parents’ rights matter, and who will keep woke ideology out of our schools.” 

Menendez’s top New Jersey political adviser Michael Soliman told the New Jersey Globe that Serrano Glassner’s alignment with Trump will tank her campaign. 

“Before she runs against Senator Menendez, the mayor is going to have to run from her record. She has supported Donald Trump not once, not twice, but now three times,” Soliman said. “She owns Trump’s disgraced legacy from January 6th to Charlottesville to a Supreme Court that gutted a woman’s right to choose, denies voting rights and makes our streets less safe with more guns. I’ll put Bob Menendez’s record against hers any day.” 

Three GOP candidates are already in the race: Shirley Maia-Cusick, an immigration consultant from Hunterdon County; Gregg Mele, the 2021 Libertarian candidate for governor; and Daniel Cruz, a former Andover Regional School District Board of Education member. 

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