TRENTON, NJ June 5, 2018: Bob Hugin, pharmaceutical CEO and former U.S. Marine, is now one step closer to the U.S. Senate. Hugin won the New Jersey GOP nomination by an overwhelming 76 percent of the vote, on June 5th.
Hugin to face a disgraced Democrat
His opponent in the general election will be Senator Robert Menendez, who captured a little less than 60 percent of his primary vote. Pundits from Sean Spicer to Newt Gingrich say that his poor showing in the primary against a virtual political unknown, shows the devastating effects of his indictment on federal corruption charges. Following his indictment, he was forced to resign as chairman of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations.
Menendez, whose trial for bribery in November ended in a hung jury and mistrial, was recently censured by the Senate Ethics committee. He allegedly accepted lavish, unreported gifts from Florida doctor Salomon Melgen. Melgen was later convicted of Medicare fraud and sentenced to 17 years in prison.
Hugin important to the Senate GOP
Maintaining a veto proof majority is essential for the GOP. Winning tight races like this one is key to the GOP midterm elections strategy. Now 153 days away from the election, this strong display of support for Hugin is a huge victory for the New Jersey Republican party.
Menendez faces double-digit negative approval in the polls; with the critical impact of the criminal allegations, it is surprising that he decided to run again. Hugin, a virtual newcomer to politics, has quickly closed on the incumbent. According to a May Fairleigh Dickinson poll, there is only a 4 point difference between the candidates.
Tom Kean Jr. and Tom Kean Sr.
New Jersey Governor Tom Kean and New Jersey State Senator Tom Kean Jr. helped celebrate Hugin’s victory. The younger Kean faced off against Menendez in 2006. The elder Kean is one of New Jersey’s most popular politicians. He chaired the 911 commission and issued the well-known 911 report, which dramatically changed the U.S. counterintelligence and homeland security landscape.
With the primary over, the election fundraising season has begun.
Hugin reported $58 million in income last year, allowing him some independence from special interests in deciding how policy should be addressed, which reforms should be implemented, and how the people of New Jersey should be represented in Washington. Apart from his financial independence, Hugin has a couple of advantages new players in politics often don’t have: a president from his party actively invigorating the economy; and a cadre of voters too sick and tired of the incumbent to vote for him again. This could help Hugin to a decisive victory in November.
An affable and charming man, Hugin is focused on the issues facing New Jersey voters. These include the skyrocketing cost of government and the enormous pressure it puts on middle class families trying to make ends meet, and infrastructure overhaul. The latter is sorely overdue in New Jersey. This fundamental piece of public policy affects not only voters’ personal safety, but national security as well.
With the help of the Trump administration, this might just get done. Passing omnibus transportation funding legislation still requires a supermajority in the Senate to prevent Democrats from showboating and grandstanding like they did with the federal budget.
Critical infrastructure improvements will enhance the return on investment in New Jersey, and tackling them will channel tax dollars into New Jersey to deal with a problem that disproportionately affects the Garden State.
With the release of his recent TV ad, voters are getting to know Hugin and getting a better feel for his values and his ability to represent them in Washington. The more they hear about Menendez, the greater his ethical problems loom and the less appealing he is. If he avoids careless missteps, greater attention to the candidates will only help Bob Hugin.