New Jersey HeraldKyrillos jabs Sen. Menendez as new campaign …
By ANGELA DELLI SANTI
TRENTON, N.J. (AP) – The Republican challenger for U.S. Senate claimed victory in his party’s primary by unleashing a short but sharp-tongued attack on the Democratic incumbent, signaling the start of the state’s highest profile general election campaign.
State Sen. Joe Kyrillos said policies that Sen. Bob Menendez supports have led to a struggling economy, unemployment and soaring national debt.
“Some would use much harsher words, but even Democrats think that Bob Menendez is mediocre,” Kyrillos said after defeating three little-known candidates Tuesday to capture the GOP nomination. “We deserve much better.”
Menendez said the campaign would focus on helping the middle-class. The senator, who was unopposed, wished Kyrillos well and called for the two to discuss their differences “in an honorable way.”
In other contests, U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell won a bitter battle of incumbents, easily besting fellow U.S. Rep. Steve Rothman in the Democratic primary in New Jersey’s newly drawn 9th Congressional District.
Donald Payne Jr. defeated five other challengers to win a Democratic primary to succeed his late father in Congress. He also won a special election to finish out the 12th term of his father, who died in March.
Republican Mitt Romney – who had already secured the support needed to win the GOP nomination – won the state at the top of the ticket.
The state’s marquee primary on the Democratic side pitted Pascrell against Rothman in Bergen, Hudson and Passaic counties. The rare intraparty primary battle happened because the district was reconfigured this year as a result of population changes that are costing the state a seat in the House.
With 98% of the district reporting, Pascrell had 60% of the vote, a wider margin than had been expected. Rothman carried nearly three-quarters of the vote in Bergen and Hudson counties, but Pascrell had a huge advantage in Passaic County, where he carried 90% of the vote.
The winner is almost guaranteed the win in November in the solidly Democratic district.
“We did it,” Pascrell said in a victory speech. “My parents always taught me not to start fights but to know how to end them. Tonight we did
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