Bob Hugin Running Against Menendez in NJ Senate Race as a Democrat-Kind-of-Republican

Bob Hugin US Senate Ad

The Republican nominee taking on scandal plagued incumbent Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) in November’s general election for the U.S. Senate in New Jersey released a 30 second television ad on Thursday in which he claims to be running as “a different kind of Republican.”

A look at the positions Bob Hugin supports in the ad–most specifically his pro-choice abortion position–suggests that Hugin is really running as a “Democrat kind of Republican.”

That may be a winning strategy in a state that has not elected a Republican to the U.S. Senate in more than 40 years.

You can see the ad here:

“I served my country in the Marine Corps, and in the Marines, it’s not about Democrats or Republicans, it’s about working together,” Hugin says as the ad begins, with a video clip from his primary election night victory speech.

“That’s what we need more of in Congress. That means being a different kind of Republican. I’m pro-choice, pro-marriage equality, and I strongly support equal pay for equal work,” Hugin continues.

“Politicians would rather point fingers. I will be different. I will lead. It’s time to send in a Marine,” Hugin concludes.

“The stances [on abortion and gay marriage] set Hugin apart from most of his party, but in the 46 years since New Jersey last elected a Republican to the U.S. Senate, it has elected two pro-choice Republican governors to two terms each, Thomas Kean Sr. and Christine Todd Whitman,” NorthJersey.com reported on Thursday.

“Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) skated on public corruption charges dropped by the Department of Justice in January, but he now faces a five month trial in the court of public opinion among New Jersey voters, who will deliver their verdict in the November general election for the U.S. Senate seat in New Jersey,” Breitbart News reported after Menendez’s unimpressive 62 percent to 38 percent victory in the Democratic primary earlier this month.

“His weak performance against an unknown and unfunded challenger in Tuesday’s Democratic U.S. Senate primary, combined with the huge financial resources of his Republican general election opponent, Bob Hugin, spells trouble for him–and the Democratic Party–in November,” that report continued.

Hugin is clearly distancing himself from the Trump agenda in his campaign to unseat Menendez in the U.S. Senate, as Breitbart News reported last Thursday, two days after he won the Republican primary:

Hugin reached out to centrist Democrats on Thursday to oppose the legislation President Trump sent to Congress last month “to rescind $15 billion in federal spending, not including omnibus spending – the largest rescission request in American history and the first since Bill Clinton was president,” as Breitbart News described the proposal last month.

In a statement, Hugin’s campaign said “the rescissions package . . . would cut federal funds for New Jersey, including $7 billion from the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and $107 million from funding for Hurricane Sandy relief.”

“I would not support cutting money from any program that takes money away from New Jersey. We’re already 50 out 50 in what we get back from Washington as a percentage of what we send there, and to have New Jersey taxpayers further burdened by the federal government is unacceptable,” Hugin said in the statement.

Hugin has the support of a number of well known New Jersey Republicans who have very publicly opposed President Trump, including former New Jersey Governor Christine Todd Whitman.

In March 2016, Whitman said she would “probably vote for her [Hillary Clinton]” over Donald Trump in this Real Clear Politics interview:

“So you’re saying, just to be really clear about this, that if Donald Trump is the nominee and if Hillary Clinton is the nominee, you’ll be supporting Hillary Clinton,” co-host John Heilemann asked.

“I will probably vote for her,” Whitman said. “I don’t want to. I can do a write-in. But I think that’s where I’d go if those are my choices.”

Whitman and former New Jersey Gov. Thomas Keane Sr. are seen briefly in the new ad as members of the primary election night audience.

“Bob Hugin will be a different kind of Republican, and work with people in both parties to make New Jersey more affordable, restore honesty and integrity to government, and get our fair share from Washington. He will be a Senator that New Jersey can be proud of,” Hugin Campaign Communications Director Megan Piwowar told the New Jersey Globe about the new ad.

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