By David Madden

GLASSBORO, NJ (CBS) — So what does the future hold for New Jersey US Senator Robert Menendez, now that federal prosecutors have dropped their bribery and corruption case against him? A local political science expert chimes in.

Ben Dworkin heads up the Rowan Institute for Public Policy and Citizenship. He’s surprised the feds reversed themselves after announcing two weeks ago that the retrial would proceed. Then the trial judge dropped bribery charges.

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“The bribery was the essence of it all,” Dworkin told KYW Newsradio, “and if they couldn’t prove that, all of the other stuff seemed to fall by the wayside.”

That’s not to say Menendez is out of the political woods, although Dworkin doesn’t seem too concerned about a pending Senate Ethics probe.

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Menendez is all but certain to seek a third term this year, and Dworkin expects the Senator to spend the next few months re-establishing himself with voters.

And given this is a mid-term election, that usually bodes well for the party out of power. Maybe even more this year.

“The fact that Donald Trump is so unpopular here in New Jersey only strengthens the Democratic momentum,’ Dworkin added, “and so I think Bob Menendez is going to be really helped by this kind of very favorable political climate.”

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And any well-heeled Republican who had pondered a challenge to Menendez might be thinking twice about it now.