The Democratic State Committee moved against former U.S. Senate candidate Bob Hugin only a day after GOP gubernatorial nominee Jack Ciattarelli picked him to lead the Republican State Committee.
“Bob Hugin and Jack Ciattarelli are both devoted supporters of Donald Trump, so it makes perfect sense that Ciattarelli chose Hugin to run the State Republican Party, which is still completely overrun by Trump fanatics like them,” Democratic State Committee Executive Director Saily Avelenda said.
The party’s nominee for governor traditionally designates the new state chairman. Ciattarelli backed Hugin, a former Celgene CEO who spent $36 million of his own money on his 2018 Senate campaign, in a December race for the Republican State Committee’s chairmanship.
Hugin lost that race to Republican State Chair Michael Lavery, an ally of former State Chairman and then-gubernatorial candidate Doug Steinhardt, in a 24-18 vote made just a day after Hugin entered the race.
Republicans saw the attack at Hugin as an attempt at misdirection.
“It’s unsurprising Democrats are continuing to make pathetic attempts to discuss anything but Phil Murphy’s record, given that Murphy killed one in three small businesses, forced the needless deaths of over 8,000 seniors in nursing homes by ignoring the science, and that New Jersey has one of the worst unemployment rates in the nation with many victims of his lockdown measures unable to even obtain unemployment benefits,” Republican State Committee Communications Director Tyler Ladzinski said.
Avelenda re-aired many of the attacks Hugin faced during his campaign for Senate, hitting the incoming state chairman for drug price hikes at Celgene and his opposition to allowing women into a Princeton university dining club in 1992, when Hugin was in his late 30s.
“Ciattarelli and Hugin are like two sides of the same coin — Ciattarelli wants to throw people off their health insurance, Hugin made millions price gouging cancer patients; Ciattarelli headlined a Trump ‘Stop the Steal’ rally, Hugin donated $200,000 to Trump’s campaign; Ciattarelli would cut funding for women’s health care, Hugin fought to stop women from entering his elite private club,” she said.
The Summit resident has remained active in politics since his 2018 loss to U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez (D-North Bergen).
He’s given $179,200 to Republican candidates and party organizations since 2018’s general election.
“Democrats know that Bob Hugin’s ability to lead and grow the Republican Party will spell nothing but trouble not only for the Governor and his enablers in the Legislature, but Democrats all up and down the ticket,” Ladzinski said.