After a landslide victory in Tuesday’s primary, Sen. Joe Kyrillos is officially the Republican candidate to take on incumbent Democratic Sen. Robert Menendez in November for the U.S. Senate seat. Although Kyrillos said Menendez will be able to raise more money, he told NJ Today Managing Editor Mike Schneider he’s confident he can beat the incumbent.
Kyrillos said he was pleased with his margin of victory in the primary and is gearing up “for the big campaign” in November. He said the reception around the state has been good and the economic climate could actually help him.
“What I also know is this is not a typical New Jersey election year because this is not a typical year. This is not a typical time for America. This is an extraordinarily difficult time and America’s at a crossroads and they’re looking for something new and different because the old ways are not working,” Kyrillos said. “That’s why I’m very confident about the future.”
Funding is often a major factor when it comes to campaigns, but Kyrillos is confident he can win without the same amount of money as Menendez. “I’m going to be able to raise enough money to be able to make my points and I’m going to beat him anyway,” Kyrillos said.
Menendez has criticized Kyrillos for his ties to Wall Street, which Kyrillos describes as “laughable.” He has his own criticism of Menendez. “The guys in Washington, including my opponent Sen. Menendez, they govern by press release. So it’s laughable to talk about the Wall Street thing because he’s the king of raising money from Wall Street, over a million dollars,” Kyrillos said. “I haven’t raised any Wall Street money at all and so he can talk about it all he wants and we’ll put the facts out there. And what people really want is some plan and intellectual honesty to change the governance of the country to motivate the private sector to add jobs, create jobs and put people to work again. His strategies aren’t working. The proof is in the numbers. Forty months of over 8 percent unemployment, that’s bad history.”
Kyrillos has a good relationship with Gov. Chris Christie, who has been criticized lately for having overly optimistic projections of state revenues. Kyrillos said the state’s economy is tied to the national climate and he hopes actions being taken now and in the future will give the economy a boost.
“New Jersey’s not an island. We have some challenges, no doubt about it. And a strong national economy would cure most of those challenges. but people understand that had it not been for Gov. Christie and like minded reformers from both sides of the aisle, our state would be far, far in worse shape. And so we are acting here,” Kyrillos said. “We’re balancing our budget. We’re doing it without tax increases. We’re trying to actually cut income taxes because we think overall that will help raise revenue. We’re dealing with our entitlement challenges in an honest way. Washington doesn’t do that. So to the degree we have challenges, that’s what I’ll be working on in Washington with a new leadership team I hope.”