Roselle Park mayor says he wants to challenge longtime Sen. Menendez in Democratic primary

Roselle Park Mayor Joseph Signorello says he knows he is facing an uphill battle to challenge Sen. Bob Menendez.

News 12 Staff

Mar 8, 2023, 1:35 AM

Updated 502 days ago

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A mayor from a Union County town says he wants to take on longtime Sen. Bob Menendez for the Democratic nomination for United States Senate in 2024.
Roselle Park Mayor Joseph Signorello says that he is left of Menendez politically. He says he knows he is facing an uphill battle to challenge a powerful figure who has defeated opponents in three past primaries.
“What does that say about our party when everyone just holds their nose and says, it’s Jersey politics?” Signorello asks.
With Menendez under his third known federal corruption investigation in less than two decades, many New Jersey Democrats are keeping quiet - with one notable exception.
“We have such smart people here, we have such successful people here - but we can’t shake this Mafioso mentality that people have,” Signorello says.
Roselle Park has a population of 14,000.
“We are a very, very blue-collar, middle-class town,” the mayor says.
He says he wants to bring what he has learned in the mayor’s office to Washington.
“Don’t touch people’s garbage, don’t touch their taxes and if they have a tree in front of their house, there’s probably something going on that needs to get fixed,” he says.
Taking on Menendez is no small task. Signorello says he remembers what the senator said in 2018 after his corruption trial ended in a hung jury – “For those of you who were digging my political grave so you could jump into my seat: I know who you are, and I won’t forget you.”
“If I lose, my political career is probably over,” Signorello says.
Menendez was in Washington on Tuesday questioning Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell.
In a statement, an advisor to Menendez called the senator a “passionate fighter," adding, “We welcome the contrast to this new opponent in a debate over understanding New Jersey’s challenges, standing up for the middle class and readiness to meet the dangerous threats to our democracy. Without question, Sen. Bob Menendez is the clear choice.”
Signorello says he is not just a vote for those who don’t want to vote for Menendez.
“I’m a strong alternative,” he says. “I've got big shoulders. I'm a feisty little Italian from New Jersey, right? It takes a lot to shake me.”
Bergen County drug and alcohol counselor Christina Khalil has also filed paperwork to challenge Menendez in the Democratic primary. That primary is set for June 2024.


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