Republican challenger falls short of Senate seat victory

<p>Joseph Kyrillos, Republican candidate gives a speech after losing the race for the U.S. Senate.</p>

Joseph Kyrillos, Republican candidate gives a speech after losing the race for the U.S. Senate.

With Fox News on in the background, supporters   of Republican New Jersey Senate candidate Joseph Kyrillos watched as their candidate’s senatorial hopes quickly faded last night in the ballroom of Nanina’s in the Park in Belleville.

Menendez won the race with 58.9 percent of the votes while Kyrillos had 39.4 percent.

Supporters in attendance said Kyrillos deserved the seat because of the fresh outlook he would have brought to the state.

Candice Greaux, Edison resident, said Kyrillos could have offered a much-needed bipartisanship to the state.

“He’s a fiscal conservative, he has bipartisan experience in the New Jersey Senate, and he’s the kind of Republican we need in Washington to get things done,” she said.

Lisa Ann Lusardi, a Rutherford resident, said Kyrillos and the Republican Party in general represented the kind of attitude needed to get real change in the country.

“[The Republican Party] is a no-nonsense party,” she said. “The Democrats are more dramatic but take less action.”

Jeffrey Weingarten, president of the Morristown Tea Party, said Kyrillos perfectly represented exactly what his grassroots campaign was all about.

“Kyrillos is [for] smaller government, lower taxes and a balanced budget — as opposed to Menendez, who is [for] larger government, a nanny state,” he said.

All in all, supporters agreed that Kyrillos was the more genuine candidate.

“He’s believable,” Weingarten said.

Despite her belief that Kyrillos would be the better man for the job, Lusardi said she was not surprised at his loss.

“Oh yeah, it’s what I expected,” she said. “He didn’t really have a shot.”

The largely conservative crowd sent up a cheer when Fox announced around 9 p.m.

that the U.S. House of Representatives would remain in Republican control.

Kyrillos arrived at the venue at 10:17 p.m. and conceded the seat to Menendez. He started his short speech by thanking those who helped his Senate bid.

He said nearly 8,000 donors raised about $5 million but

still were outspent by the Menendez campaign.

“We always knew we were the underdogs, and although we raised $5 million, we were out-funded,” Kyrillos said.

He said the funding disparity made him even more committed to the issue of campaign finance reform.

Kyrillos also blamed the media for his loss, saying the majority of media coverage of the campaign was directed at his opponent.

“The press, well, the press didn’t pay nearly enough attention to our efforts,” he said.  “Perhaps they didn’t understand what our campaign was about.”

He said that the recent response of the New Jersey public to the tragedy of Hurricane Sandy showed just how great the state can be, and suggested that those in Washington take note of the example of people coming together in spite of their differences.

“I hope Washington can see us because I want them to witness what we’re doing in New Jersey ... putting aside our differences to move forward. It’s time for Washington to do the same thing for America,” he said.

Kyrillos ended his speech with a vow to keep fighting for his values.

“Tonight we end this great effort. I’ve loved every minute of this campaign. It’s been an honor to be the candidate for our party,” he said.

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