A slew of major scandal-plagued candidates won their elections

Sandy Huffaker/Getty ImagesRep. Duncan Hunter walks out of the San Diego Federal Courthouse after an arraignment hearing on Thursday, August 23, 2018
  • Four high-profile congressional candidates who were plagued by scandals won in Tuesday night’s midterm elections.
  • Republicans Reps. Chris Collins and Duncan Hunter, both under federal indictment, won reelection in New York and California, respectively.
  • Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez, who avoided conviction on corruption charged in 2017 amid a hung jury, won in New Jersey.
  • Former Democratic Rep. Keith Ellison also won a race for attorney general of Minnesota after allegations of abuse by an ex-girlfriend and an investigation by the state’s Democratic Party determined the allegations were “unsubstantiated.”

While Democrats and Republicans split control of the two chambers of Congress in Tuesday’s midterm elections, scandal-plagued candidates in high-profile races ran the table.

Two Republican House members currently under federal indictment won reelection in their races, while two Democrats who are not currently under investigation but were dogged by scandals also took home wins.

The indicted Republicans

Rep. Duncan Hunter, who represents California’s 50th congressional district just outside of San Diego, won despite being under indictment for campaign finance violations. Authorities allege that Hunter and his wife used roughly $US250,000 in campaign cash for personal expenses ranging from shorts to dentist visits. In total, Hunter faces 60 indictments for finance violations.

Hunter has denied the allegations, claiming that his wife managed his finances and that the indictment was a political hit job by the Department of Justice. A status conference for Hunter is scheduled for early December, but no firm trial date has been set.


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In New York, Rep. Chris Collins won reelection in the state’s 27th district despite being charged with insider trading by federal authorities in August.

Authorities say Collins engaged in a conspiracy with his son and other associates to dump shares of a Australian pharmaceutical firm after learning that a key drug trial had failed. Collins served on the board of the company and was privy to the drug trial’s results before they became public. Federal officials say Collins made a call to his son about the stock while in attendance at a White House event.

Collins has promised to fight the charges.

The dogged Democrats

On the other side, two high-profile Democrats also managed to win their respective races despite nagging scandals.

Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez won reelection in New Jersey after being cleared of corruption charges in late 2017. Federal prosecutors declined to retry Menendez in January after a hung jury did not convict the senator on charges he accepted roughly $US1 million in illegal gifts and donations.

Prosecutors alleged that Menendez accepted gifts from Salomon Melgen, a wealthy eye doctor from Florida, including private jet trips, in exchange for the senator’s influence on key issues, including a Medicare billing dispute. Menendez denied the allegations.

The race appeared to be getting closer in the run up to Election Day, with Democrats diverting money to shore up Menendez’s victory.

In addition to Menendez, Keith Ellison, the deputy chair of the Democratic National Committee and a former House member, won election as Minnesota Attorney General amid allegations of domestic and emotional abuse made by ex-girlfriend Karen Monahan.

Ellison has not been charged with any crime and an investigation by the state’s Democrats Party found that the allegations were “unsubstantiated.”

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