A group of six Latina legislators, all Democrats, say Republican Bob Hugin is touting the endorsement of a single activist to give the impression that he is amassing Latino support in his bid for the United States Senate.
On Tuesday, Hugin received the personal backing of Lydia Valencia, the president of the Puerto Rican Congress of New Jersey. Valencia served as statewide co-chair of Hispanics for Christie in 2013 and backed Kim Guadagno for governor in 2017. He was also endorsed by Jenniffer González-Colón, a Republican who is Puerto Rico’s Resident Commissioner in Congress.
The six New Jersey women – State Sens. Nellie Pou (D-North Haledon), Teresa Ruiz (D-Newark) and Nilsa Cruz-Perez (D-Barrington), and Assemblywomen Annette Quijano (D-Elizabeth), Annette Chaparro (D-Hoboken) and Yvonne Lopez (D-Perth Amboy) – are backing incumbent Bob Menendez for re-election.
“Just like Donald Trump, Bob Hugin is using some voices in our community to divide us and create confusion,” said the six legislators in a statement. “Puerto Ricans will see through the sham of a single endorsement and vote for someone they have been fighting alongside for many years. Senator Menendez has a genuine life-long commitment to our community, unlike Bob Hugin who is a neophyte to issues that Puerto Ricans care about.”
The legislators praised Menendez for his role in Puerto Rico Hurricane relief, and for his longtime support of Puerto Rico.
“Long before Hurricane Maria devastated our Island; Bob Menendez had been a voice for our people. There is no coincidence many Puerto Ricans refer to Bob Menendez as Puerto Rico’s Senator in Congress,” the legislators said. “Bob Hugin can’t even find Puerto Rico on a map.”
Hugin, in his statement earlier this week, reaffirmed his support for the people of Puerto Rico.
“I’m committed to standing up for the Puerto Rican community here in New Jersey and fighting for equal rights for all Puerto Ricans,” said Hugin. “My whole life I’ve been independent and I’m not afraid to stand up for what’s right. That’s why I called out the President for politicizing Hurricane Maria and the tragic deaths of 3,000 people. We should mourn those souls, not politicize them.”