Robert "Bob/Ricardo" Menendez (born January 1, 1954) is the junior United States Senator from New Jersey and a member of the Democratic Party. In December 2005, he was appointed by Jon Corzine to fill the U.S. Senate seat vacated by Corzine, who resigned upon being elected Governor of New Jersey, and was sworn into office in January 2006. Menendez was elected to his own full six-year term in the 2006 U.S. Senate election, defeating Republican Thomas Kean, Jr. He is the first person of Latino ethnicity to represent New Jersey in the U.S. Senate.
Prior to his appointment to the U.S. Senate, Menendez was a member of the United States House of Representatives, representing New Jersey's 13th congressional district from 1993 to 2006. A resident of Hoboken, he previously served as Mayor of Union City (1986–1992) and a member of the New Jersey General Assembly (1987–1991) and the New Jersey Senate (1991–1993).
Following the 2008 elections, Menendez was appointed to head the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.