Wounded Menendez draws few challengers

His poll numbers are terrible, he just went through a corruption trial that ended in a hung jury and there might be a retrial in the middle of his reelection campaign.

But it’s difficult to find a New Jersey Republican willing to challenge Democratic Sen. Robert Menendez next year — a testament to the toxicity of Donald Trump in New Jersey and the dismal landscape facing the state’s Republican Party.

Gov. Chris Christie is leaving office after eight years with an approval rating in the mid-teens. He demanded absolute loyalty from members of the state’s Republican legislative delegation; they had to hitch their political wagons to him, and were allowed little breathing room to build their own profiles. Now, they’re paying the price — and only Richard Pezzullo, the runner-up in the New Jersey Republican 2014 U.S. Senate primary, is currently running for the GOP nomination next year.