Friday, June 8, 2018

NJ's 'Battle of the Bob's' promises to be dirty and nasty

Bruised by his lackluster win in Tuesday’s primary, Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez still favored to beat Republican Bob Hugin in fall election

menendez hugin
U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez (left) and Republican senatorial hopeful Bob Hugin
Colleen O'Day reports
for NJ Spotlight:

Now that the primary is over, the battle of the Bobs for New Jersey’s U.S. Senate seat begins in earnest and though he may be bruised, Sen. Robert Menendez is still the favorite to win after what is expected to be by all accounts a nasty, negative campaign.
Menendez (D-NJ), a 12-year incumbent, had a lackluster win on Tuesday over a virtually unknown Lisa McCormick, garnering just 62 percent of the vote. He lost to the local news publisher in six counties – Cape May, Hunterdon, Salem, Somerset, Sussex and Warren. All but Somerset are Republican-dominant with low Democratic registration. His only dominant majorities of more than 70 percent were in Essex and Hudson counties, which have strong Democratic machines, and in Bergen.
But at least two national politics ratings continue to rate New Jersey’s Senate race this year as a likely Democratic win and Jersey-based pundits agree, although it is not likely to be as easy as his 20-point victory in 2012.
“All the news about Sen. Menendez leading up to the primary was bad, it won’t be in the general election,” said Matthew Hale, a professor of political science and public affairs at Seton Hall University, noting that the Senate Ethics Committee “severely admonished” Menendez less than six weeks before the primary. “A lot of people who voted for McCormick are going to come back to Sen. Menendez in November.”
Hale said the November election will wind up being less about the corruption charges against Menendez — of which he was not convicted — and more about the latest scandal involving the Trump administration. Menendez was charged with accepting gifts and travel from a campaign donor on whose behalf he intervened with a federal agency. Menendez said the gifts were from a friend. A trial led to a hung jury and the Justice Department has since dropped the charges.

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