Former drug company CEO Bob Hugin says that campaign literature touting support for President Donald Trump doesn’t mean he’ll be an automatic Trump vote if he wins his race for the United States Senate.
“I don’t think any president is 100% right and 100% wrong. I think there are presidents, whether it’s Bush, Clinton, Obama, Trump, that have done good things for New Jersey, and we should support them,” Hugin said. “I don’t care who you are, if you don’t do good things for New Jersey, we should stand up to them.”
Hugin is using Trump as part of a bid to get voters in heavily Republican areas to vote by mail.
But the GOP candidate stood by the door-hangers distributed in heavily Republican Ocean County this week. It said that Hugin “will work with President Trump and always put New Jersey first,” while stating that incumbent Bob Menendez “opposes President Trump on everything and strongly supported Hillary Clinton.”
“I don’t think anything on that flyer is inconsistent with anything I’ve ever said,” Hugin told the New Jersey Globe on Saturday. “We should stand up for New Jersey. We shouldn’t oppose things that are good for New Jersey.”
Hugin says that support of any president, at least through the lens of a U.S. Senator from New Jersey, ought to be based on New Jersey issues – with each issue being evaluated independently.
“I don’t think you should oppose a president 100% of the time or support a president 100% of the time, you’re supposed to represent the people of New Jersey and if the president is doing something good for New Jersey, you should stand up and support that,” Hugin said. “At the same time, if the president does something that is not good for New Jersey, you should stand up to him regardless of your party.”
The first-time candidate says that if Democrats propose something that’s good for New Jersey,” he would support it. And if Republicans back something that’s bad for New Jersey, he vowed to fight it.
But tagging Menendez with the 100% test might be tough. The two-term Senator often disagreed publicly with President Barack Obama, especially on foreign policy issues.
Menendez, facing the toughest campaign of his political career, is trying to paint Hugin as a Trump acolyte. His stump speech includes references to Hugin’s role as a Trump fundraiser and delegate in 2016.