Bob Hugin isn’t taking any immediate action following the release of a video showing his driver, retired New Jersey State Police Lt. John Beyers, shoving a Bob Menendez campaign tracker Edwin Soto as the candidate entered a building.
“I have not seen the video. I don’t condone anybody doing anything that is inappropriate to another person,” Hugin said during a press gaggle following an unrelated event. “I saw a little bit of the incident. I didn’t see the whole incident, so other than saying it’s not appropriate for anybody to put hands on somebody unless it’s in self-defense or protecting somebody else – when I look at it, I’ll take whatever action’s appropriate.”
The video shows the Menendez staffer asking Hugin if he was campaigning with Seth Grossman. The two appeared at an event held by the Ocean City Republican Club on Tuesday. Hugin has not endorsed Grossman, a point he reiterated on Wednesday.
Though the issue could become a major thorn in Hugin’s side if handled incorrectly, Micah Rasmussen, director of Rider University’s Rebovich Institute, said that Hugin’s handling of the issue should stop it from ballooning into anything more than a blip in the campaign.
“Hugin’s response was appropriate, so because his response was appropriate, you wouldn’t expect further repercussions – you wouldn’t expect it to play badly,” Rasmussen said. “If he didn’t respond in a way that recognized people’s right not to be handled physically, then it could blow up into a bigger issue, but he didn’t. And, based on his comments, you would fully expect this is something he’s going to talk to his staff about and make sure that his feelings are ‘this is not how I expect you to act.’”
Editor’s Note: Hugin discussed the incident with his body man later on Wednesday, his campaign said.