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Politico | Can Menendez survive in New Jersey





In a state with a colorful history, it takes a lot for a New Jersey  politician to cross the line into political toxicity.

Democratic Sen. Robert Menendez has found himself at the center of a  growing controversy, with accusations swirling of a questionable friendship with  a Florida eye surgeon being investigated for Medicare fraud, improper  flights to the Dominican Republic and alleged patronizing of prostitutes — including underage girls — while in the Caribbean nation.

In some states, these allegations — and the fact the Senate  Ethics Committee has joined federal investigators in looking into the explosive  claims — would be enough to sink Menendez. But in New Jersey, that may not be  enough to topple the Hudson County political boss, who runs the political  machine for a part of Jersey known for being rough and tumble and who easily won  reelection last year.

“Six years is a long time,” said Democratic former Sen. Robert Torricelli ,  who left the Senate a decade ago under his own ethics cloud. “I think Bob  Menendez is a very tenacious person, and he has the advantage of six long years  and a fairly forgiving political environment in New Jersey.

“I wouldn’t be wasting time on a Bob Menendez political obituary,” he  added.

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