Bob Hugin’s coming out as a pro-choice Republican won’t do him any favors with more traditional Republican voting blocks.
For one, he’s lost the support of New Jersey Right to Life, the state’s largest pro-life group.
“We find it very disappointing that Republican U.S. Senate Candidate Bob Hugin is pro-abortion. He’s going to need the pro-life vote in order to win this race, and right now, it is not looking like that’s going to happen,” said Marie Tasy, the group’s executive director. “Pro-Life Voters will either stay home or vote for a third-party candidate.”
Hugin on Thursday released a TV ad burnishing his service record in the U.S. Marine Corps. In the ad, he announced stances that mark a departure from traditional Republican stances on abortion, gay marriage and pay equity.
“I served my country in the Marine Corps. And in the Marines, it’s not about Democrats or Republicans it’s about working together. That’s what we need more of in Congress. That means being a different kind of Republican,” Hugin said in the 30-second spot. “I am pro-choice, pro-marriage equality, and strongly support equal pay for equal work. Politicians would rather point fingers. I will be different. I will lead. It’s time to send in a Marine. I’m Bob Hugin and I approve this message.”
Those stances aren’t outside of the mainstream for New Jersey voters, and they might not even be a stretch for a large number of New Jersey Republicans, but they’re something of a departure from the views the party holds under President Donald Trump.
They could harm his performance among voters loyal to the president come November, and that harm may bleed down the ballot.
At the very least, Tasy’s group won’t be backing Hugin. N.J. Right to life will be looking at the state’s third-party candidates to see if, funds allowing, there’s a candidate in that crowd they can back against the two pro-choice party candidates.
The Hugin campaign declined comment on this story.