Democratic U.S. Senator Robert Menendez was re-elected in New Jersey, turning back a challenge from Republican state lawmaker Joseph Kyrillos.
Menendez, 58, has served in the Senate since 2006, when he was appointed to fill the vacancy left by Jon Corzine’s election as governor. He was re-elected later that year. Kyrillos, 52, is a commercial real-estate broker and state senator who has served in the New Jersey legislature since 1988.
The Democratic incumbent held a large lead over Kyrillos in opinion polls before the election and outspent his opponent.
“In this election I looked straight at you in the camera and told you this is where I came from, this is who I am, this is what I have done for you the last six years in the U.S. Senate,” Menendez said after polls closed, according to the Associated Press.
Kyrillos said Menendez’s superior fundraising was a factor in his victory. The incumbent had $8.3 million on hand heading into October, while Kyrillos had $1.6 million, the AP said, citing federal filings. Yet the challenger said he didn’t regret running.
“Tonight we end this great effort,” Kyrillos said in his concession speech, the AP reported. “I’ve loved this campaign. I’ve loved every minute of it.”
President Barack Obama also won in New Jersey to claim its 14 electoral votes.
The New Jersey Senate race mirrored the presidential election as the candidates sparred over whose policies would revive the economy and assist middle-income earners.
Menendez said he sought to reduce taxes for the middle class while increasing taxes on the highest earners to help close the U.S. budget deficit. Kyrillos backed cutting individual and corporate taxes, saying that would spur investment and revive the economy.