EWING, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), and his Republican challenger, state Sen. Joe Kyrillos (R-Monmouth) sparred Thursday over how best to jumpstart the economy.

Kyrillos argued that America needs to bring back some of its overseas investments, and offer a stimulus to the private sector.

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But Menendez faulted Kryillos – a 24-year veteran New Jersey legislator – for failing to oversee $300 million in anti-foreclosure aide in an adequate fashion.

“We’ve been in the Legislature for 24 years — other states see their unemployment lowering. What are you doing about creating jobs?” Menendez asked.

“We have 450,000 New Jersey citizens out of work. The jobs you cite from your stimulus program were very, very expensive adding nearly $1 trillion to the debt of the country,” Kyrillos replied.

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The two candidates spent much of the first half-hour blaming each other for the economic woes of the state and country.

Menendez, 58, is seeking a second six-year term. He was appointed in January 2006 to fill the seat of Jon Corzine – who was elected to a single term governor of New Jersey that year. Menendez was elected to the Senate seat in November 2006.

Kyrillos, 52, is a commercial real estate broker.

New Jersey has not elected a Republican to the U.S. Senate since the 1970s. The last Republican to hold a Senate seat for the state was Clifford P. Case, who served from 1955 to 1979.

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