New Jersey voters are sending U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez back to Washington for another six-year term.

New Jersey U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (Chip Somodevilla, Getty Images)

Menendez easily won re-election over Republican challenger Joe Kyrillos, who's been a New Jersey legislator for 24 years.

The 58-year-old Menendez never trailed in public opinion polls, so the race didn't generate much buzz.

The Hudson County Democrat entered the race with obvious advantages over his lesser-known opponent. Besides running with President Barack Obama at the top of the ticket, Menendez out-raised Kyrillos by nearly 3-to-1.

Kyrillos' biggest weapon was GOP Gov. Chris Christie, who campaigned at diners and rallies with his longtime friend down the stretch.

Even the popular governor couldn't overcome a 40-year trend of New Jersey residents electing only Democrats to the Senate.

 

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)