Democrats rush to salvage Robert Menendez’s campaign hopes, as contest moved to toss-up.
Republican businessman Bob Hugin is running a competitive senate race in New Jersey against Democrat incumbent Bob Menendez. The tightening margin has people wondering if Hugin could seal the deal.
Tamar Lapin writes at the New York Post:
Bob Menendez holds slim lead over rival, latest poll shows
Sen. Bob Menendez is holding on to a five-point lead on his rival ahead of the midterms — but his supporters aren’t very enthusiastic about their choice, a poll released Wednesday found.
The Rutgers-Eagleton survey put the embattled Democrat — who fended off federal corruption charges last year — ahead of Republican Bob Hugin among likely voters, 51 percent to 46 percent.
Even though Bob Menendez was never convicted on corruption charges, they hang over his campaign like a dark cloud. That may be part of what is driving some voters to Hugin.
The Cook Political Report has changed the rating for the race to a Toss-Up due to the ethics problems:
There is an addition to the Toss Up column as the race in New Jersey moves there from the Lean Democratic column. The contest isn’t about anything else but Democratic U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez and his ethics problems. His opponent, pharmaceutical CEO Bob Hugin, has outspent the incumbent, $27.7 million to $11.8 million, according to the pre-election FEC report, and most of Hugin’s money has funded television ads. The Senate Majority PAC, the Democrats’ Senate super PAC, has now invested nearly $6.5 million in the race, including a $3 million advertising buy this week. This investment levels the playing field somewhat, but Hugin still holds a very definitive advantage on television.
John Gizzi reports at Newsmax:
Corruption Helps GOP’s Hugin Close in on NJ Sen. Menendez
The jaws of the politically active in and outside New Jersey were left hanging Wednesday morning, as the just-released Rutgers/Eagleton Institute Poll showed Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., beating back Republican Bob Hugin by 51-46 percent statewide.
Although the incumbent’s 5 percentage point advantage is above the margin of error (plus or minus 3.8 percent points), the Rutgers poll shows the race is highly competitive — something very newsworthy in a state that last sent a Republican to the Senate in 1972.
Both the survey and experts on Garden State politics agreed Menendez’s trial on corruption charges (which ended in a judge declaring a mistrial) is the key reason for his precarious political situation. Former biopharmaceutical company CEO Hugin hits this hard and a major television blitz highlighted what the Republican calls Menendez “letting New Jerseyans down.”
Hugin has reminded voters of this at every opportunity. Here he is at their debate Wednesday night:
Democrats have made it clear that they’re not giving up this seat without a fight. They’re throwing more money behind Menendez. Matt Friedman writes at Politico:
National Democrats make another big ad buy for Menendez
A Democratic super PAC aligned with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer is making another big ad buy in New Jersey to help Sen. Bob Menendez in a state that would normally be a lay-up for them.
Recent polls have shown Menendez, a 12-year incumbent, leading Republican Bob Hugin by anywhere from two to 12 percentage points.
Senate Majority PAC’s $2.8 million ad buy, announced Thursday, indicates Democrats have at least some concern about the race. The group announced a $3 million ad buy just last week.
Hugin is also hammering Menendez on the allegations that he had sex with underage prostitutes in South America, a charge the Democrat has repeatedly denied:
This election is about so much more than any one political party. It’s about right and wrong, and who is the best person to represent New Jersey for the next 6 years in the U.S. Senate. #NJSen
Watch our new ad below: pic.twitter.com/rtcgqvLIN3
— Bob Hugin (@BobHugin) October 25, 2018
This will be an early race to watch on November 6th.
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