Kevin R. Wexler/ via USA TODAY NETWORK

Sen. Bob Menendez Wins Democratic Primary, Will Face GOP Challenger Pharma Exec Bob Hugin

June 06, 2018 - 10:10 am

NEW YORK (1010 WINS) -- In a fairly tight race, New Jersey Sen. Robert Menendez defeated his primary challenger for a spot on the November ballot against Republican Bob Hugin.

Hugin, a wealthy former biopharmaceutical executive and Marine, defeated his rival, construction company owner Brian Goldeberg, while the 64-year-old Menendez beat back a challenge from Lisa McCormick in his push for a third term.

In a post victory video, released by his campaign, Menendez offered a taste of what voters can expect this fall.

"Mr. Hugin is going to have to explain to the people of New Jersey why he denied access to affordable drugs in a way that even Donald Trump's administration said was outrageous. Bob Hugin will also have to explain why he paid a $280 million settlement for defrauding taxpayers and ripping off cancer patients," Menendez said.

Hugin said he's proud of his work at Celgene Corp., calling it one of the state's largest private employers and he promised his supporters he would not forget his rival's trial on corruption charges that ended in a deadlock. Hugin ran the company until this year.

"New Jersey deserves a senator as good as its people not one whose greates accomplishment is staying one step ahead of the law," Hugin said.

Menendez faced federal bribery charges last year. The jury deadlocked, but Republicans hoped to use Menendez's legal troubles to tar other Democrats like Sherrill across the state. Menendez has denied he did anything wrong.

Meanwhile, in the race to replace the retiring Congressman Rodney Frelinghuysen in the 11th Congressional District, Democrat Mikie Sherrill grabbed a spot on the November ballot against Republican Jay Webber, who has the backing of anti-abortion groups.

Sherrill is a former Navy pilot and  federal prosecutor. Webber is a New Jersey Republican assemblyman.

State Sen. Jeff Van Drew appears to be heading to a November contest with Republican attorney Seth Grossman, but the results in the race to replace retiring Republican Congressman Frank LoBiondo in the 2nd District are very close.

Democrats Frank Pallone, Bill Pascrell and Donald Payne turned back primary challenges in Tuesday's vote.

Democrats need to win 23 Republican-held seats for a House majority and at least four of New Jersey's five Republican seats are in play.

North Jersey's Leonard Lance survived two primary challengers.

In the 5th, John Mcann will go against Josh Gottheimer. McCann joins a long list of people who have gone up against and defeated former Bogota Mayor Steve Lonegan who earlier lost two gubernatorial races, one Senate race and two House elections.