As the lead of New Jersey Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez shrinks in polls leading up to the Nov. 6 midterm elections, a Democratic super PAC is pouring millions into the incumbent's campaign in a suddenly tight race with Republican nominee Bob Hugin, the Washington Examiner reported.
A Rutgers poll has Menendez up by just 5 points over Hugin among likely voters — and the poll's margin of error also is 5 points. In addition, the Democrat is below 50 percent — an important yardstick for incumbents, and a surprising number given that the Garden State is historically blue.
What does one GOP strategist have to say?
“The question has always been whether or not enough New Jerseyans can vote for a Republican in Trump’s first midterm,” Republican strategist Mike DuHaime — who advised former GOP Gov. Chris Christie — told the Examiner. “We haven’t won a U.S. Senate race here in 46 years, so is it possible to break that streak when the political headwinds are historically so strong?”
Hugin has been hitting Menendez’s ethics to get a political foot in the door, the paper said — and as a result Democrats have been forced to direct campaign money to help out the incumbent, the paper said.
“Regardless of the result in New Jersey, the national money coming to [the state] to bolster Menendez against Hugin’s spending is a very big win as it helps Republicans retain the majority,” DuHaime added to the Examiner. “Any dollar spent here defending a seat in a safely blue state is one less dollar defending embattled Democrat incumbents in places like Missouri, North Dakota, Missouri, and Indiana.”
More from the paper:
Democrats face a tough path in the Senate despite otherwise favorable political conditions because they are defending so many more seats than the Republicans and have 10 incumbents seeking re-election in states Trump carried, including several of the above where the president won decisively and remains popular.
The super PAC affiliated with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., has spent more money in New Jersey than on pickup opportunities in Tennessee or Arizona and defending vulnerable red-state incumbents in North Dakota, West Virginia, and Montana. Senate Majority PAC is reportedly planning to sink another $2.8 million into the Menendez race.
Hot Air noted that Schumer's super PAC has spent $6 million on the New Jersey race for the U.S. Senate — and with nothing much to show for it.
“We’d be in a much better position with a different candidate [than Menendez], but this is where we are,” a Democratic operative who requested anonymity in order to speak frankly told the Examiner. “We’ll still pull it out; it’s just harder than it has to be."
Here are highlights of last week's Menendez-Hugin debate: