OLD BRIDGE – Bob Menendez officially has a Republican opponent in 2024.
Shirley Maia-Cusick launched her candidacy at a rather gala kickoff Thursday night at the Grand Marquis banquet hall. About 200 people attended what was – as these always are – an upbeat event.
Maia-Cusick, a native of Brazil, is CEO of World Wide Legal Services in Short Hills, according to her campaign bio. It adds that:
“Shirley has worked for over 20 years in immigration and advisory services, as well as serving previously as an international lawyer and immigration consultant.”
Her platform highlights standard conservative GOP positions in regard to reclaiming the American Dream. empowering parents, elevating education, cracking down on crime and prioritizing American interests.
“Take care of your own house first,” she says in her written platform, adding that this mindset will guide decisions when it comes to America’s engagements in conflicts abroad.
Running for the U.S. Senate in your first try for public office ain’t easy.
Asked why she is aiming so high so quickly, Maia-Cusick said, “At this moment, … it is so important that we fight for our rights, our America.”
She added, “We’re losing our country.”
Asked how that is actually happening, Maia-Cusick replied:
“When the inflation is high, when our politicians are corrupted, when they don’t represent us with dignity and integrity, that’s how we lose it.”
Inflation has cooled considerably and is now about 3 percent annually, according to recent data.
Maia-Cusick was skeptical, saying she disagreed with that analysis.
Her challenge here can’t be underestimated.
For one thing, there will be other Republicans in the primary race.
More relevantly. Republicans have not won a U.S. Senate seat in New Jersey since Clifford Case in 1972.
While Menendez has had well-documented legal problems, he easily defeated Republican Bob Hugin in 2018.
The Senate race is more than a year away, but the state Legislative races are only four months away.
Owen Henry, the mayor of Old Bridge and a candidate for the state Senate in District 12, made that point.
He told the crowd that a big win for Republicans this fall will “prepare the table” for next year’s race.
Not only that, Henry said if the GOP can win control of the Legislature it will scare Democrats throughout New Jersey to death.
“The opportunity is there,” he said confidently.
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