Republican nominee Bob Hugin has a good chance of ousting Democratic Sen. Robert Menendez in New Jersey’s Senate race, The Washington Examiner reports.
Hugin, a former pharmaceutical executive, has funneled $15 million into the race with a promise to spend more than $20 million, and his ads have filled the airwaves in New Jersey since mid-May. The latest surveys from Quinnipiac University Poll and Gravis have Hugin within 6 and 2 points of the incumbent, respectively.
"I think he's our best chance in the last 40 years," said GOP Rep. Tom MacArthur of New Jersey, when asked about the party’s chances of winning a Senate seat in the state. "He's a good man. He's really had an American dream kind of life ... It's going to be an ugly fight; it already is. But I think there couldn't be a starker contrast between those two men."
Although Menendez successfully defended himself against corruption charges in court, he was "severely admonished" by the Senate Ethics Committee for accepting gifts from a wealthy doctor.
According to Quinnipiac, one-quarter of voters in New Jersey rate ethics as their most important issue, while about one-fifth rate taxes as their most important issue. Despite this, many Democrats have few concerns about the senator’s reelection chances.
"I think [Menendez] is in a remarkably favored position that he never would have anticipated six months ago or a year ago," said Jim McQueeny, one of late Democratic Sen. Frank Lautenberg’s top aides. "He got an opponent who's vulnerable because of the pharma background and an easy target. Drug company people today are probably ranked lower today than cable repair people."
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