Supporters of Robert Menendez cheered loudly at his New Brunswick campaign headquarters as CNN projected his reelection to a second full term as United States senator from New Jersey.
His 18-point victory margin over State Sen. Joseph Kyrillos (R-Dist. 13) was anticipated by nearly all the 200 people gathered in the ballroom of the Heldrich Hotel. The incumbent had outspent his opponent by three to one in a state that hasn’t elected a Republican to the Senate since 1976.
But within an hour, the shouts and applause became even more intense as the news networks’ anchors predicted Democratic winners in tighter Senate races — Elizabeth Warren over incumbent Scott Brown in Massachusetts, Chris Murphy over Linda McMahon in Connecticut.
In a 15-minute address, Menendez told supporters, “I could not be more grateful for this historic victory.” He toasted New Jerseyans “for surviving an unprecedented storm. We are battered but not broken, with a stronger sense of community than ever before.”
He thanked his opponent “for his service to New Jersey” and said he “looked forward to working with him in the coming weeks as we try to make sure every New Jersey family recovers and rebuilds.”
Menendez said he had “tried to run a positive campaign instead of the politics of destruction,” giving constituents “someone to vote for and something to vote for instead of something to vote against.”
He said Congress “needs to work in creating good jobs and opportunities to make sure our kids get a great education and they can afford college.”
Recounting his own story in the third person, Menendez said, “If this young man who was the first in his family to go to college and rise to become one of 100 United States senators in a country of 315 million people, I want that to be possible for each and every one of our children.”
In other races followed closely by New Jersey’s Jewish community:
Democratic incumbent Bill Pascrell handily defeated Republican Rabbi Shmuley Boteach in New Jersey’s Ninth Congressional District; Rep. Leonard Lance was re-elected to New Jersey’s District 7, beating out Democratic State Assemblyman Upendra J. Chivukula; and Rep. Scott Garrett won a sixth term by overcoming a challenge from Teaneck Deputy Mayor Adam Gussen in a reconfigured District 5.
In southern New Jersey’s Third Congressional District, former Philadelphia Eagles lineman Jon Runyan defeated Democratic challenger Shelley Adler to secure a second term in the House. Adler is the widow of the late John Adler, who lost to Runyan in 2010 and died due to complications from a staph infection in 2011. John Adler converted to Judaism after the two met during their years at Harvard Law School.
Elsewhere, Jewish Democrats Lois Frankel and Alan Grayson won congressional seats in Florida, and Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel failed in his bid to unseat Sen. Sherrod Brown, a Democrat.