Senate Candidate Patricia Campos-Medina: No Regrets in Criticizing Bob Menendez


Photo courtesy of Patricia Campos-Medina for U.S. Senate Facebook.


ATLANTIC CITY — U.S. Senate candidate Patricia Campos-Medina said she did not regret her criticism of current Sen. Bob Menendez in urging him to resign, but does respect what he has meant for Latinos in elected office.

Campos-Medina made the comments to Front Runner New during a Zoom press conference for ethnic media outlets organized by the Center for Cooperative Media at Montclair State University this week. She is one of several candidates — both Democrat and Republican — trying to replace Menendez, who is currently under several federal indictments.

Hispanic Leadership and Community

“I entered this race after the indictments were announced,” Campos-Medina said. “I did it after consultation with statewide Latino leaders, who felt like we were shocked and we felt disappointed in Senator Menendez, getting himself, for the third time, into this position.”

The U.S. Justice Department said last September that Menendez allegedly agreed to use his official position to benefit Wael Hana, Jose Uribe, Fred Daibes, and the Government of Egypt in exchange for hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes to himself and his wife Nadine Menendez, which included gold bars, cash, and a luxury convertible.  

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He had previously survived an FBI corruption probe in 2013 and a 2017 court case against him ended in a mistrial after the jury failed to reach a verdict. The Justice Department eventually declined to retry him.

Campos-Medina said the new round was a bridge too far for many who had continuously backed him in the Latino community and a new leader must set a high standard of ethics.

“We had defended him twice already. We know we were the biggest supporter of Senator Menendez because we were proud of his trajectory from a family of immigrants growing up in Union City. We supported him all along … I will always respect the legacy of Senator Menendez in so many great key issues for New Jersey, and the leadership-type representative for our community. I never took it for granted.”

Campos-Medina said there is a new crop of Latino and Latina leaders who are ready to step up and take their place in New Jersey legislative history as well. She touted her years of service as a union leader, and promoter of Latina leadership through the organization Latina Civic as two examples of her preparation for office.

“There are leaders that are ready to step up and have more of a moral compass on leadership values, to take a political leadership to the next level,” Campos-Medina said. “Latina Civic has trained over 1,000 Latinas in the last 10 years of our existence, who are ready to step up and build an expansive political leadership for New Jersey.”

Campos-Medina also promised to continue her fight against New Jersey’s notorious “party county line,” on ballots to benefit the favorites of party bosses for years.

In March, U.S. District Judge Zahid Quraishi issued a preliminary injunction against using the party line, according to CNN, after a lawsuit was brought by U.S. Rep. Andy Kim, who is also running against Bob Menendez, and at the time perceived state Democratic party favorite, New Jersey first lady Tammy Murphy.

Campos-Medina and U.S. Senate candidate Larry Hamm were also vocal about the use of the party line, arguing it often locked out people of color and other candidates from marginalized groups.

Murphy has since dropped out of the primary race.

“I will continue to do that fight after we are done with this primary,” Campos-Medina said. “I will continue to say that not fixing the ballot in a permanent way is detrimental. It’s discriminatory to voters of color, and to candidates of color, and we will continue that fight beyond this primary election … We hope that [ballots without the party line] become the norm moving forward.”

Campos-Medina is the executive director of the Worker Institute, ILR-Cornell University where she oversees the successful management of the Institute’s vision and mission to advance collective bargaining, worker rights, and economic and racial justice. She is considered a policy expert on workplace and labor issues, women’s rights, voting rights, immigrant worker justice, immigration policy and U.S. trade relations.

She is the president of Latina Civic, an organization advancing economic and equity policies and supports Latinas to run for office. She is a board member of PODER PAC and the current PAC Chair for NJ Citizen Action. She currently Serves as an Advisory Committee Member for ELLA Wins/Ready to Run, a program of the Center for American Women in Politics and is a Visiting Fellow at the Eagleton Institute, Rutgers University-New Brunswick.

Campos-Medina has been recognized as one of New Jersey’s most influential political leaders by several publications: ROI-NJ for 2021-2019; InsiderNJ 100 Policymaker in 2021, 2019, 2018, and 2017; InsiderNJ 100 Political Power List in 2021, 2020, 2019, 2018 and 2017; Observer/Politicker’s 100 Power List in 2016; PolitickerNJ’s Top 51 Most Influential Latino Leaders in New Jersey for 2015.

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