By David Cruz
Before he ended his night in front of jubilant Democrats in New Brunswick, Bob Menendez criss-crossed the state in a last-minute get out the vote effort. With an –- as expected — double-digit win, he probably could’ve taken it a little easier but the Democrat wanted to leave nothing to chance on an election day that –- in Jersey anyway –- was one for the ages.
“It was a little difficult,” said Menendez. “You know, we focused obviously on recovery, which was our job, and then, at the very end, to remind people that a national election is important and about their future.”
As many voters struggled just to find their polling places, and waited hours on long lines to cast their ballots, a sense of chaos hung over the day. Menendez, who took time during his acceptance speech to acknowledge those most affected by Hurricane Sandy, suggested it was time to figure out a better way.
“The election of a president is rooted in the constitution and yet there’s no option for what happens when a storm happens on, say, election day when we don’t have a week to recuperate, so it’s something that we have to think about,” he added.
It would have taken a tsunami on top of an earthquake for State Sen. Joe Kyrillos to overcome his double-digit deficit, but the Republican said the storm we did get, hit his campaign hard.
“We had the storm of the century, and that made things a little harder, not just for the people of New Jersey in so many ways, but for this campaign as well,” Kyrillos told supporters at his Belleville campaign headquarters. “Lots of my friends and neighbors and supporters in Monmouth and Ocean counties left altogether and for obviously good reason. We could’ve used all that support.”
With his convincing win, Menendez solidified his standing as a national Democratic party stalwart, and in a second Obama term, will have a prominent seat at the table when critical issues, like immigration, make their way through the legislative process, with a priority, he said, on building political bridges.