U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez on Thursday said that, though his campaign raised more than $2 million, he still expects to be at a financial disadvantage to his self-funding opponent, former Celgene CEO Bob Hugin.
“I think this quarter we’ll report over $2 million raised, but I will never have what Bob Hugin has, but I never want it if the basis of having it is making a killing off of cancer patients and defrauding Medicare, Medicaid and the VA health system,” Menendez said. “He’ll probably outspend me three-to-one. But we are more strategic, and I think that all the money in the world can’t overcome that you’ll be another vote for Donald Trump.”
Unless Menendez’s spending has picked up significantly – it likely has, as he aired his first campaign of the cycle this quarter – his estimate of getting outspent three-to-one might prove optimistic.
By the end of the second quarter, Hugin had spent about $8.6 million, while Menendez had spent a comparatively paltry $1.4 million. At the time, Hugin had about $7.9 million banked,with most of his $16.7 million raised coming from his own pockets.
By comparison, Menendez had about $4.7 million in his war chest and had raised roughly $6.1 million.
Hugin declined to give an estimate of how much money he might spend through the conclusion of the race when asked by the New Jersey Globe to do so last week.
“All the time from when I first got into this, this was an issue of giving the people of new jersey a choice and ensuring they had the opportunity to be informed on the issues,” Hugin said at the time. “Good citizens make good judgments and informed citizens make good judgments, so that’s how my wife and I have evaluated it all along. If there’s an opportunity or necessity to make sure people get, they’re hearing of it.”
Though Senate candidates usually out-raise their counterparts running for a seat in Congress’s lower chamber, that may not be the case this time around, at least when it comes to one of New Jersey’s Democratic challengers.
Mikie Sherrill raised about $2.7 million in the third quarter, her campaign announced Monday, likely putting her on top of the state’s fundraising food chain, a spot that, among House candidates, had been occupied by freshman Rep. Josh Gottheimer.
That figure may end up beating out Menendez’s fundraising total for the quarter – the senator was unsure if it would, and the filing deadline for the recently-concluded reporting period is still about a week away – but the prospect didn’t leave a bruise on the senator’s pride.
“I want her to win the race, and I’m happy if she beats me in fundraising,” Menendez said. “I hope she wins the fundraising. I hope she wins the race – that’s not an issue for me. The bottom line is we have raised what we need I believe to win this race, and we will win the race.”