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U.S. Senator Bob Menendez, left, and his Republican opponent, Bob Hugin

U.S. Senate race a toss-up, analyst says

Cook Political Report says race is all about Menendez

By David Wildstein, October 26 2018 9:29 am

The Cook Political Report, which provides non-partisan analysis of U.S. political campaigns, has moved the New Jersey Senate race to the toss-up column.

“The contest isn’t about anything else but Democratic U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez and his ethics problems. His opponent, pharmaceutical CEO Bob Hugin, has outspent the incumbent, $27.7 million to $11.8 million, according to the pre-election FEC report, and most of Hugin’s money has funded television ads,” said Jennifer Duffy, senior editor of the report. “The Senate Majority PAC, the Democrats’ Senate super PAC, has now invested nearly $6.5 million in the race, including a $3 million advertising buy this week. This investment levels the playing field somewhat, but Hugin still holds a very definitive advantage on television.”

Cook had previously rated the race as Leans Democratic.

“The biggest threat to Menendez’s re-election is not so much Hugin than it is the voter who goes to the polls and decides to send Menendez a message, much the way many did in the primary when 38 percent voted for his unknown primary opponent,” Duffy said.  “There is certainly a thumb on the scale for Menendez, who is said to have a lead of between four and six points, in this very blue state, but the race is close enough to warrant a move to Toss Up.”

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