default article image

Local Republican Running for National Senate Seat

Joseph Kyrillos Jr., a Monmouth County State Senator, has hopes of moving from Trenton to Washington, D.C. next year. He announced on Wednesday, February 1 that he seeks Senator Menendez Senate seat.

Kyrillos, who represents the 13th Legislative District in the New Jersey Senate, which includes Monmouth County and the University, announced two weeks ago his intention to seek the Republican nomination and to challenge U.S. Senator Robert Menendez, the Democratic incumbent, according to the Star Ledger.

Kyrillos, last week issued a statement laying out his reasoning for seeking the higher office, warning that “Our country is in trouble and Washington is failing us.” He had shifted his exploratory committee into a campaign committee to run for federal office and take on national challenges.

According to Kyrillos State Senate biography, Kyrillos, 51, is a Middletown resident. His education includes a B.A. in political science from Hobart College and a M.S. in communication from Boston University. He is a commercial Real Estate Broker for Colliers International. He was the Chairman of Chris Christie’s campaign for Governor and N.J. Republican State Committee Chair from 20012004. He has been in the Senate from 1992 to the present, the Republican Conference Leader from 2002 to 2003, Majority Conference Leader from 1997 to 2001 and served in the General Assembly 19881989. Senator Joseph Kyrillos serves on the Economic Growth, Judiciary, and Legislative Oversight Committees.

Kyrillo hopes to improve the economic state of those in New Jersey and across the United States. “Americans have seen their neighbors lose their jobs, their home values fall, their savings shrink and their economic horizon darkened by a record $15 trillion national debt,” he said. “Washington has responded with nothing but partisan squabbling and reckless spending, and now Bob Menendez is seeking reelection to deliver more of the same.” stated Kyrillo.

According to the Director of   the University Polling Institute, Patrick Murray he stated, “The biggest challenge to unseating an incubate is name recognition. Kyrillos is known in Monmouth County but not as well-known state wide.”

Menendez campaign strategist Brad Lawrence painted Kyrillos as out of touch with average New Jer sey residents. “New Jersey’s voters will have a very clear choice if Senator Kyrillos becomes the Republican nominee. Senator Bob Menendez who fights every day for middle class New Jersey families or longtime Trenton insider Joe Kyrillos who sides with corporations and special interests over working families and seniors and panders to the most extreme elements of the Washington Republicans,” Lawrence said in a statement in an interview with MSNBC on February 1.

Senator Menendez has already raised more than $10 million for his reelection campaign. Roughly half of the money comes from North Jersey connected donors, with law firms in Roseland, Florham Park and Teaneck combining to deliver him $270,000, the report said.

About 300 individuals have donated the maximum $5,000, the report said, adding that nearly 39 cents out of every dollar raised was given from outside the New Jersey New York region.

The finance, insurance and real estate industries combined to donate more than two million dollars, the report said. Meanwhile lawyers and lobbyists have given the campaign nearly $1.8 million.

In 1992, Kyrillos had run unsuccessfully for the U.S. House of Representatives, looking to unseat incumbent Frank Pallone Jr. (DNJ) for the Sixth District.

“We have proven in New Jersey that strong leadership can change things for the better,” Kyrillos’ release stated. “Under Governor Christie’s leadership and with the support of conservatives like myself.” He said the state has turned around after being on the “brink of bankruptcy.”

It is not surprising that Kyrillos would look to link his name and performance to the Republican Governor. The Senator has been a close friend of Christie’s, and long seen as a close confidant, with Kyrillos serving as Christie’s campaign chairman.

Joseph X. Oxley, Monmouth County Republican chairman, and fellow Middletown resident offered his strong support for Kyrillos’ run for federal elected office this week. “We go back literally a lifetime,” Oxley said on Wednesday, calling Kyrillos “a phenomenal, dedicated public servant,” who “would certainly represent us well in Washington, D.C.”

“Senator Kyrillos would be seen certainly by the state party as an attractive candidate by his long record of office holding, party leadership, close to the Governor,” said Ruth Mandel, director of the Eagleton Institute of Politics, at Rutgers University, New Brunswick. “And likely to be an attractive candidate on the stump.”

Given his close affiliation to Christie, who is “the most powerful voice,” for the state party, “Senator Kyrillos is pretty much assured the nomination, one would expect,” Mandel said. And, given that Kyrillos has made his public announcement, Mandel suspected “the road had cleared,” to the nomination for Republican Senator.

Menendez, running for his second full term in November, would win 43 percent against both Kyrillos and Little, who would both win 31 percent, according to the Public Mind poll of 800 registered voters. The poll also found New Jersey voters are split on President Obama’s job performance. According to the poll, 46 percent approve, while 45 disapprove, a slight improvement for Obama over the October Public Mind poll, which put his approval rating at 44 percent and disapproval at 47 percent.

At his campaign kickoff last Wednesday, Senator Kyrillos, with his parents, wife, and children by his side, opened the event by saying “America faces tough and uncertain times. Our families face challenging times. Our spirit America’s spirit is being tested. Over 20 million of our fellow Americans are out of work or underemployed today and many millions more are discouraged, feeling left behind.”

Kyrillos in another interview stated he is running because he is “worried about the direction America is headed today.” He said, “We proved in New Jersey that conservative leadership works. We are making tough choices the same tough choices that need to be made in Washington: We cut spending, we stopped borrowing and we didn’t raise taxes. And … we told small and big employers, ‘New Jersey is open for business again.’”

Citing statistics that he said show the national unemployment rate has nearly doubled and the national debt has similarly grown during Menendez’s years in office, Kyrillos, R-Monmouth, promised the crowd that he will “take a different path,” according to the Asbury Park Press.

Cristina Marzilla, a student at the University, said that “it’s time for a change in Senatorial leadership for the state of New Jersey. I feel that the time has come for a man like Joseph Kyrillos to lead us toward a more successful and brighter future. I support his efforts in both voting to repeal Obamacare as well as cutting spending. Senator Menendez had his chance and its now simply time for him to step aside and let new leadership represent us in Washington.”