GOP candidate for Senate in New Jersey faced 2020 charges of DUI, leaving scene of accident

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — A New Jersey Republican candidate for U.S. Senate was arrested in August 2020 and charged with driving under the influence of alcohol and leaving the scene of an accident, according to police reports that came to light Wednesday.

Alex Zdan, a former TV news reporter who launched a bid for the seat currently occupied by indicted Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez, was driving his his pickup in Hopewell when he crossed the center lane and swiped another vehicle, damaging a mirror and the driver’s side of the vehicle, according to police report details published by Politico New Jersey.

Zdan left the scene, according to the police report, and was found parked in a convenience store lot. Officers determined he was involved in the accident, and he failed field sobriety tests and later blew a 0.25 on a breathalyzer test, more than three times the legal limit.

When asked if he was involved in an accident, he told an officer: “I don’t think so,” according to the report.

Zdan said in a texted message Wednesday that he's committed to transparency for himself and his opponents.

“I am truly sorry for the disregard for others and the law I showed four years ago. It was the first and last time,” he said.

Zdan added that he was arrested and soon afterward released on his own recognizance. He said he pleaded guilty, paid fines and completed the terms of his agreement with authorities.

"No one is perfect — but no one is above the law. I’ve learned from my mistakes and have endeavored to improve myself every day,” he told the Globe.

Zdan is competing against Mendham Borough Mayor Christine Serrano Glassner and southern New Jersey businessman Curtis Bashaw for the GOP nomination in this year's U.S. Senate race.

Menendez has not said if he's running again as he faces federal corruption charges, to which he has pleaded not guilty.

Zdan has won endorsements from Republican Party officials, including in Passaic and Monmouth counties.

New Jersey last elected a Republican to the Senate in 1972.