January 18, 2006

Menendez sworn in as New Jersey senator

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Democrat Robert Menendez was sworn
in as U.S. senator for New Jersey on Wednesday, taking over the
term of Jon Corzine, who was sworn in as governor this week.

Menendez, a 52-year-old seven-term congressman, faces a
Senate election in less than 10 months, with possible primary
challenges in the heavily Democratic state and then a possible
challenge in the November election from Republican state Sen.
Tom Kean, son of a popular former governor.

Corzine tapped Menendez to take over his Senate seat,
skirting a special election. Democrat Frank Lautenberg holds
New Jersey's other Senate seat.

Menendez, the son of Cuban immigrants, was the first New
Jersey Latino in the state legislature and in Congress. He
represented the state's 13th district and was the chairman of
the House Democratic caucus.