Republicans are increasingly optimistic about their chances to take out Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., as their nominee Bob Hugin has turned what many expected to be a Democratic cakewalk into a close contest with two months to go before Election Day.
In just a few months, Hugin, a former pharmaceutical executive, has made this blue-state Senate race surprisingly competitive in a Democratic year. Since announcing in February, he has poured at least $15 million into the race, and promised upwards of $20 million, and has flooded the airwaves statewide unopposed from mid-May until Menendez went on the air on Tuesday.
That strategy paid off in the polls, as Quinnipiac and Gravis show him down by 6 and 2 points, respectively, in the only two surveys taken since the state’s primary contests. An internal poll conducted by Hugin’s campaign shows him in a neck-and-neck race against Menendez, which has given both national and state Republicans hope.
“I think he’s our best chance in the last 40 years,” said Rep. Tom MacArthur, R-N.J., of the possibility of Republicans winning a Senate seat in New Jersey. “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.”
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