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Pressure builds on Sen. Robert Menendez: Is it enough to topple him?

The New Jersey senator is accused of political favors, bribery, and prostitution. But those charges are difficult to prove, and experts say Menendez has the popularity to ride out the political storm. 

Sen. Robert Menendez, shown here at right announcing immigration legislation last month, said Monday that allegations that he engaged with prostitutes in the Dominican Republic are 'smears.'

J. Scott Applewhite/AP/File

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Even as pressure on New Jersey Sen. Robert Menendez (D) continues to mount over allegations of political favors, bribery, and prostitution, political analysts suggest the controversy, at this point, is unlikely to end the stalwart senator's 40-year political career. 

Over the weekend, calls for Senator Menendez to resign his post as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee gained momentum, with a New York Times editorial pressing him “to relinquish his leadership role.” The Senate Ethics Committee is currently investigating allegations of his misconduct. 

But with little public outcry against Menendez in his home state or among his Senate colleagues – and with allegations of political favors hard to prove – Menendez could survive if further allegations do not emerge. 

“If what we know right now is all there is, I don’t think this is career ending," says Brigid Harrison, a political science professor at Montclair State University in Montclair, N.J., noting that Menedez was just reelected in November. "He has five years and ten months before re-election. That’s a really long time to rehabilitate your image.”


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