Menendez Meets With Corzine Ahead of N.J. Senate Seat Selection

Democratic Rep. Robert Menendez cut short a trip to Puerto Rico to meet with New Jersey Gov.-elect Jon Corzine, who is expected this week to name a successor to serve the remainder of his Senate term.

Democratic sources said the two met over the weekend in New Jersey.

Corzine spokeswoman Ivette Mendez declined on Monday to comment on the meeting.

Menendez's spokesman Matt Miller would neither confirm nor deny the meeting. Miller also would not comment on whether an announcement would be made Tuesday.

Menendez has long been the front-runner to fill Corzine's seat. Five other New Jersey Democratic congressmen have expressed an interest in being chosen by Corzine. State law gives the governor the authority to fill U.S. Senate and House vacancies. Also mentioned in the running has been state Sen. Nia Gill.

Corzine's term expires in 2006. He was elected governor of New Jersey last month, succeeding James McGreevey, who stepped down last year after admitting he had engaged in a gay, extramarital affair. Critics said he had put his lover in a top state governmental job for which he was unqualified.