As the ballots pour in from Sandy-ravaged New Jersey, Robert Menendez has emerged victorious in reclaiming his U.S. Senate seat against Republican challenger Joe Kyrillos.
With just over half of polling districts reporting, state Republicans have conceded victory to Menendez. The U.S. senator leads 58 percent to 40 percent as of 10:30 p.m., according to CBS News.
"Senator Joe Kyrillos ran a great campaign against very tough circumstances and despite the loss, his family, campaign team, and supporters should be very proud of their efforts," New Jersey Republican Chairman Sam Raia said in a statement late Tuesday night. "Joe represents the very best of New Jersey and has fought for his constituents faithfully from the day he took office and I have no doubt he will continue to do so for many years to come."
Early polls had projected Menendez a big winner on Tuesday and the Hudson County liberal delivered.
The race had been called by multiple outlets before 20 percent of districts had even reported.
Appointed to the senate by former Gov. Jon Corzine in 2006, Menendez had little trouble out-muscling Kyrillos financially in his second successful bid for senatorial office.
Campaign finance records show the U.S. Senator picked up $16 million from donors and aggressively dropped large sums on 30-second TV spots, more than tripling Gov. Chris Christie confidant's war chest.
A staunch supporter of Obamacare who protested the war in Iraq, Menendez has pledged to "fight for the middle class" by closing corporate loopholes and removing the tax breaks for the wealthy, a stark contrast to Kyrillos' vision.
First elected in 1992 to the state legislature but lacking name recognition throughout New Jersey, Kyrillos campaigned on dropping the corporate tax rate to incentivize job creation and spur growth.
"We're going to have to raise revenue, and I want to do it through growth," Kyrillos said at a debate against the senator this fall.
Kyrillos, considered by most a moderate GOP, was one of the few Republicans not to have signed the anti-tax-hike pledge, which he told The Record's editorial board was to "maintain independence."
Menendez was not immediately available for comment.
This article was last updated at 10:40 p.m. Tuesday.