Hugin, Menendez enter final stretch as Election Day nears

Sen. Bob Menendez spent Tuesday morning speaking with seniors about Medicare, while his challenger Bob Hugin in the afternoon toured a factory to talk with business leaders about jobs.

Both are trying to rally their base just a week before the election.

“I am so concerned that this is the first place they go, let’s talk about cutting Medicare, Social Security and Medicaid,” said Menendez.

‘We’re blessed to have people like you working in New Jersey and for a company like this to be in New Jersey and not to go to another state. We have to make sure we don’t change that dynamic,” said Hugin.

Menendez received the endorsement of the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, and he used the opportunity to tell the seniors at the Heritage Village assisted living home in Bloomfield that Republicans threaten both.

“Soon after they blew the budget and we have rising debt,” said Menendez. “The first thing that the Republican leader of the Senate, the majority leader, — whoever’s in the majority that’s the one who runs the Senate — said last week, with these rising debts, we have to go after entitlements.”

To which Hugin responded, “Let’s be clear: We make promises, we keep them. I am not, our party would not agree to cut Social Security or Medicare.”

Hugin spoke at Patriot American Solutions, a Rockaway manufacturing company, where he stressed the need to keep young New Jerseyans from leaving the state.

“Our young people are going elsewhere. We have the fastest rate of out-migration of 18- to 40-year-olds. We get our kids through high school, they go to college, they don’t come back to New Jersey,” he said.

As an example of how competitive this race has become, the Democratic Senate Majority PAC has spent $2.8 million on new ads tying Hugin to President Trump, which is possibly why Hugin used the word “independent” numerous times Tuesday.

Hugin responded saying, “There are people who are trying to characterize me as something I’m not, so I have to make sure that I just make sure people know who I am.”

And Hugin just last week gave his campaign an additional $2.5 million – largely for TV ads. The ads by both campaigns have been particularly negative late in the race.

The ads have become nastier and the race has become closer. The Cook Political Report recently moved the race from “leaning Democratic” to a “toss up.”