Democrats Could Soon Have a Convicted Felon in the Senate

By NTK Staff | 11.06.2017 @11:00am
Democrats Could Soon Have a Convicted Felon in the Senate

Jurors are expected to begin deliberations this week after both sides in Sen. Bob Menendez’s (D-NJ) corruption trial make their closing arguments Monday. (For more on the case against Menendez, click here.) If convicted, Menendez is not expected to step down, despite the shame and embarrassment a conviction would bring to the legislative branch. In […]

Jurors are expected to begin deliberations this week after both sides in Sen. Bob Menendez’s (D-NJ) corruption trial make their closing arguments Monday.

(For more on the case against Menendez, click here.)

If convicted, Menendez is not expected to step down, despite the shame and embarrassment a conviction would bring to the legislative branch. In that case, the Senate could vote to expel him, but that gets complicated, too:

Republicans need a two-thirds majority in the Senate to agree to expel a member, which means they would need Democratic votes. With partisan tensions so high — Democrats are still bitter that Republicans denied President Barack Obama’s Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland the seat last year, among a host of other issues — they are in no mood to cooperate with the GOP majority.

In addition, New Jersey voters are about to pick a new governor. Democrat Phil Murphy is leading in the polls. If Murphy wins and takes office in January, he could replace Menendez with a Democrat, so the party would have incentive to delay rather than allow Christie to choose a new senator.

If convicted, Menendez is expected to appeal the court’s decision. His legal team made a half-hearted effort at a mistrial, claiming the judge would not let Menendez’s defense team properly make their case. The move was widely seen as one that lays the groundwork for an appeal.

(POLL: Majority of Americans want Menendez expelled, if convicted)

Even if Democrats delay his expulsion or choose not to expel at all, national Democrats are expected to draw the line at a reelection campaign. Menendez’s seat is up in 2018, and a convicted felon on the ballot is not the best electoral strategy, even in New Jersey.

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By NTK Staff | 11.22.2017 @2:30pm

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