menendez hugin

Amy Newman and Tariq Zehawi/USA Today

NJ's Bob Menendez wins Battle of the Bobs in U.S. Senate race

November 07, 2018 - 6:37 am

SUMMIT, N.J. (1010 WINS) -- New Jersey Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez fended off his wealthy Republican challenger and a barrage of ads about his tossed-out corruption charges to win re-election.

Menendez, 64, wins a third term Tuesday after a grueling campaign against Republican Bob Hugin.

Polls showed Hugin, 64, and Menendez much closer than expected in overwhelmingly Democratic New Jersey.

Hugin tapped his deep pockets for at least $27.5 million and spent on TV ads attacking Menendez over the 2017 trial on charges that he helped a friend with Medicare billing in exchange for lavish gifts.

The charges were dropped this year after a mistrial.

In recent months, Republican candidate for senator Bob Hugin has hammered Menendez as "corrupt" in ads, while Menendez has called Hugin “slimy” and a “sleazeball.”

That’s the kind of campaign it’s been in New Jersey this fiery election year.

Hugin has distanced himself from President Donald Trump. While speaking with 1010 WINS, he said he wouldn’t be a rubber stamp for the White House.

“I’ve made a positive difference in everything I’ve done. I’ve been independent,” Hugin said. “I’m going to stand up to anybody – including the president – that does anything that’s not in the best interest of the people of New Jersey.”

Menendez says Hugin’s strategy has not worked.

“The politics of personal destruction. The politics of falsehoods. A politic that ultimately will put you in the same camp as Donald Trump is going to be rejected,” the senator said.

In recent days, polls have shown Menendez grabbing undecided voters, putting him ahead of Hugin by double digits.

A year ago, Menendez was in the spotlight in a corruption trial that ended with a hung jury.

Menendez has since vowed to win back the trust and support of the state’s voters, and he seemed confident as he rallied supporters in Lyndhurst on Monday.