TRENTON-Just one year ago, the notion that now admonished and disgraced New Jersey Senator Robert Menendez wasn’t going to win his re-election bid for U.S. Senate was unimaginable.
Democrats were riding high in New Jersey after the election of Phil Murphy as Governor. It was often joked that any Republican who ran against Menendez in 2018 would just be a sacrificial lamb, unable to compete against the huge blue machine that powers New Jersey and most of the northeastern United States.
Then, Bob Hugin happened. A Marine Corps veteran officer and successful businessman raised his hand and swore to continue his oath of allegiance to the United States.
At first, Hugin approached his opponent’s 12-year track record full of corruption, scandals and even allegations of sex with prostitutes in the Dominican Republic with care, testing the deep blue waters of New Jersey politics.
In the past 30 days, Hugin has unloaded on Menendez, holding the two-term senator accountable for his past ethical violations which eventually led to the senator being admonished on a bipartisan action by his peers.
Now, the race for a U.S. Senate seat in New Jersey is a statistical dead heat, with incumbent Democrat Bob Menendez leading Republican challenger Bob Hugin by two percentage points, according to a Stockton University poll.
New Jersey residents have grown sick and tired of Bob Menendez, as evidenced by the Stockton poll.
Menendez, who was reprimanded by a Senate ethics panel after corruption charges were dismissed following a mistrial, is viewed unfavorably by 54 percent, with 30 percent having favorable views and 6 percent unsure.
Fifty-nine percent of voters say the corruption charges against Menendez are an extremely important or significant factor in their vote.
Hugin’s favor is rising in New Jersey and many factors are in play.
Besides the senator’s poor track record in Washington, D.C., a corruption scandal which saw his partner in crime sentenced to prison and allegations of sexual relations with young prostitutes in the Dominican Republic, things aren’t going well for those around Menendez.
First, there’s Phil Murphy. Since taking office, the Democrat governor has levied a plethora of new taxes against New Jersey residents, who were already among the most taxed residents in the United States. Menendez is a loyal supporter of Governor Murphy and his agenda.
On October 1st, a gas tax increase went into effect, adding an additional 4 cents per gallon to the existing 37.4 cents tax, moving New Jersey into the top 10 states with the highest gas tax in the nation.
New Jersey used to be known for its cheap gas, but not anymore.
Murphy’s goal when taking office was to increase New Jersey taxes by $1.7 billion and so far, he’s succeeding.
Second, there’s the Kavanaugh hearing. New Jersey residents are growing weary of political obstructionists in Washington, D.C. It’s evident as the Kavanaugh hearing is waking up a silent population in New Jersey who just can’t take it anymore.
Third, we have Spartacus. Cory Booker has done more to damage Menendez in the past thirty days than Bob Hugin has. While Hugin remains steadfast, throwing punches at Menendez for political corruption and being out of touch with New Jersey voters, Booker has provided a real-life demonstration of how out of touch New Jersey’s Democrat senators really are.
Unlike Menendez who has had sexual allegations levied against him, Booker has admitted that he sexually assaulted a 15-year-old girl back in high school, when he was at least 17 years old. New Jersey residents were quick to identify the hypocrisy of Booker’s line of questioning with Kavanaugh, who has thus far only been accused of sexual assault as part of an apparently calculated Democrat attack on his character.
This week, Hugin continued to throw punches at Menendez, who is now on the ropes, gasping for air, just waiting for the bell to ring, hoping the former Marine doesn’t deliver a knockout blow in the next few weeks before the election.
“New Jersey needs someone representing us, not a career politician fighting for his felon donor,” Hugin said. “Whether you’re a Democrat, Republican, or Independent, voters want a Senator who will put New Jersey first and represent them with honor and integrity. That’s why a growing number of Democrats are publicly endorsing my campaign.”
Menendez is reaching deep into the Democrat Party pockets to pull out ahead of Hugin. Next week, failed 2016 presidential candidate Hillary Clinton will campaign for Menendez at a posh North Jersey fundraiser with an entry fee of $5,400 per person.
If Hugin can pull out a win in November, it would be an important victory for Americans who want to move the nation forward, beyond the new norm of disruption and petulance that has infected all levels of Washington, D.C. politics.