The opponents in the tightening U.S. Senate race in New Jersey both are focusing on standing up to President Donald Trump in new ads released Wednesday — but boy are they different.
Republican nominee Bob Hugin said he can stand up to Trump — and incumbent Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez said Hugin will "never stand up to Trump."
What did Hugin's ad say?
"Marines never back down from a fight," Hugin said in his ad, noting he's been "independent" his "whole life" — and that he's pro-choice, backs equal pay for woman, and will protect patients with preexisting conditions. His ad doesn't mention Menendez.
What did Menendez's ad say?
Menendez's ad focused completely on Hugin, saying he was Trump's "top New Jersey fundraiser," stood by Trump's tax breaks for the "super rich" and his Supreme Court picks, and stood by the president when he "tried killing Obamacare, attacked women, and made racist comments." In order to stop Trump, the ad concluded, "stop Hugin."
In a race that Menendez should be walking away with in the very blue Garden State, the Cook Political Report last week called the contest a "toss-up."
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.
Hugin has been spending a ton of his own money in his quest to unseat Menendez, adding another $3.5 million to his campaign chest, which brings the total amount he's spent on his own race to $36 million, NJ.com reported, citing campaign records.
The Hugin strategy has been to hit Menendez’s ethics to get a political foot in the door — and given the latest poll numbers, Democrats have been forced to direct campaign money to help out the incumbent.
Hugin is trying to become the first New Jersey Republican elected to the U.S. Senate since 1972, NJ.com said.