A Democratic Brick councilman broke with his party and backed U.S. Senate candidate Bob Hugin over Sen. Bob Menendez Monday.
“I am proud to announce my support for the united states senate candidate who will actually be committed to serving the people of new jersey, marine veteran Bob Hugin,” said Councilman Jim Fozman. “I believe we need and deserve a leader who will serve with honor, work with both parties to get results and fight to ensure New Jersey tax payers are getting the investment from Washington we deserve.”
Fozman, a two-term councilman in a Republican town where Democrats win locally, recently broke with John Ducey, the town’s Democratic mayor. Both Fozman and Ducey vied for the chairmanship of the Brick Democratic committee.
Ducey won in a landslide, taking 49 of the 57 votes cast. Fozman also reportedly sought a post as director of the town’s Department of Public Works — something he denies — but was passed over for the job by Ducey.
The endorsement and the feud could signal an impending break with the part from Fozman, who would not rule out switching parties on Tuesday.
“It hasn’t been ruled out yet,” he said.
Further indications came when Fozman declined to endorse either Andy Kim or Rep. Tom MacArthur in the race for the third district’s House seat.
Fozman didn’t comment on the matter, saying he was at Monday’s press conference to support Bob Hugin and nothing else.
Fozman cited a number of policy positions, mainly having to do with environmental issues, as the reasons behind his support for Hugin.
Particularly, he cited Hugin’s opposition to offshore drilling and support for renewable energy sources like wind and solar power.
Those stances represent more breaks on policy between Hugin and President Donald Trump, for whom Hugin served as state finance chair and a delegate in 2016.
Still, despite an increasing amount of breaks on policy with the president’s administration, Hugin has remained unwilling to criticize him
Asked on Monday how he thought about Trump’s past criticisms of Sen. John McCain, whose death was announced by family on Saturday, Hugin demurred, saying that he was not familiar with Trump’s criticisms of McCain, who had been among Trump’s most vocal detractors in the Republican caucus of either chamber of Congress.
“I’m not aware of exactly what has been said and what has not, but Sen. McCain is, in my mind, a great American patriot and also someone that embodied the spirit of working together to solve the people’s problems, and I think those are huge shoes to fill,” Hugin said.
Trump had previously criticized McCain, disparaging the senator’s widely-accepted status as a war hero because of his time as a prisoner of war during the United States’ military action in Vietnam.
“I like people who weren’t captured,” Trump said in 2015. He later walked back those remarks but further criticized the senator.