Sources: Menendez tapped for U.S. Senate seat
Democratic Caucus head reported to succeed Corzine
From Mark Preston
Democratic sources tell CNN Rep. Robert Menendez, will succeed Jon Corzine as U.S. Senator for New Jersey.
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WASHINGTON (CNN) -- New Jersey Gov.-elect Jon Corzine will name Rep. Robert Menendez, chairman of the Democratic Caucus, as his successor in the U.S. Senate, multiple New Jersey Democratic sources told CNN Wednesday.
Menendez will serve the remaining year of Corzine's Senate term in 2006 while launching his own campaign for a full six-year term, the sources said.
Menendez was chosen over a handful of other Democrats being considered for the appointment, including Rep. Robert Andrews and Rep. Frank Pallone Jr., the sources said.
"I think it is a good move," said one Democratic source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. "He has the statewide infrastructure in place. He has got the money, the fire in the belly -- and he will win."
A Corzine spokeswoman, Ivette Mendez, described any discussion of the appointment as "speculative" and noted that "your sources do not speak for Jon Corzine."
A Menendez spokesman refused comment.
The appointment would make Menendez the front-runner for the Democratic nomination to maintain the party's hold on the New Jersey Senate seat. He has more than $4 million in his campaign war chest for the 2006 midterm election.
Of the last 30 appointed senators, about one-third went on to run for -- and win -- the seat.
The likely GOP nominee in the race is state Sen. Tom Kean Jr., who received the backing of National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman Elizabeth Dole at a fundraiser this week. His father was chairman of the 9-11 Commission and New Jersey's governor from 1982 to 1990. (Full story)
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