If Republicans hope to retain control of the Senate in the midterm elections, they’ll need some Democrats to lose in red states. They knew this the moment Donald Trump won the White House. What they may not have expected was being able to turn a seat in a blue state, but that seems more and more likely every day in New Jersey.
Bob Menendez’ seat has been a near-certainty for Democrats since the 1970s, but that changed when he faced federal corruption charges in 2015. He was given a reprieve by mistrial last year, but that didn’t sway the opinions of New Jersey voters who have viewed him less and less favorably since the charges were made.
With a month left, his lead over Republican Bob Hugin falls within the margin of error.
Roughly 59 percent of voters say the corruption charges against Menendez are an “extremely important” or “significant” factor in their vote, according to the poll. But 51 percent say the same about the way Hugin profited off his company’s cancer drug.
Menendez is viewed favorably by just 30 percent of voters and unfavorably by 54 percent. Hugin, by contrast, is viewed favorably by 34 percent and unfavorably by 21 percent, but a plurality — 43 percent — aren’t familiar with him.
Menendez has to go. Not only is he as far to the left as anyone in the Senate and lucky to not have a federal corruption conviction under his belt, but he’s also one of the most unhinged characters in the upper chamber of Capitol Hill. His outbursts read like punchlines with wild claims and accusations of racism around every corner.
Ask him a question about anything the Republicans do from DACA to tax cuts to cutting bureaucracy and he’ll almost always turn the conversation towards white nationalism. It’s his self-defense mechanism. When policies fail, turn to boogeymen.
Bob Hugin is intelligent, honorable, and holds the type of common sense conservative ideologies a state like New Jersey needs. To win, his message needs to be heard by as many in his state as possible.