POLITICS & GOVERNMENT

Menendez and Hugin crisscross the state ahead of Election Day

BY Michael Aron, Chief Political Correspondent |

Bob Menendez was with urban mayors, the governor and Sen. Cory Booker at a senior housing complex in Elizabeth.

Bob Hugin was with state legislators in the garage of a union hall in Parsippany.

Menendez’s schedule Monday took him to Democratic strongholds — Lyndhurst, Elizabeth, Perth Amboy, Paterson, Fords and back to Perth Amboy.

Hugin’s schedule had him in Republican towns — Parsippany, Toms River and Clark in Union County.

Menendez touted his record and promised to put a check on President Trump.

“When I want to move into the future, I put my car into D for Democrat and I drive into the future. If I want to go backwards, I put it in R for Republican and boy do I go backwards,” Menendez said. “This is about going into the future. This is about having a new day. One day, 48 hours, to have a check on Trump. One day to change the course of events. One day to stop Trump. One day for victory, and with your help we’re going to make it happen.”

Hugin said he’s been blessed in life and now wants to give back to the state he loves, a state in trouble.

“My whole family lives in New Jersey, but if this state continues on the road that the direction is going, that’s not going to happen. Our seniors are leaving. Our 18- to 34-year-olds are abandoning this state at the fastest rate in the entire country. We’re heading in the wrong direction. It’s unaffordable,” Hugin said.

Hugin said the race is tight.

“I need your help. We’re this close. We’re this close. The last poll we had, our internal poll, was a couple days ago, we’re up 2 points,” Hugin said.

A Quinnipiac Poll released Monday had Menendez up by 15 points — 55 percent to 40 for Hugin. That’s Menendez’s highest margin in awhile.

“All of you have written, whether I’m up by 5 or 12, or today I think there was a poll that had us up by 15, that the race is close. We’re going to wait until tomorrow and we’re going to fight for every vote,” said Menendez.

Hugin criticized the methodology in the new poll. He was asked whether he regrets supporting Donald Trump for president so strongly two years ago.

“In 2016, the country was stagnated. I voted for disruption. We have dysfunction now. I’m running because we’ve got to send good people to Washington who are going to work together,” Hugin said.

Gov. Phil Murphy said he can’t imagine waking up one morning and Bob Menendez is no longer representing New Jersey in Washington. Booker has been unstinting in his praise.

“I’m telling everybody in the state who believes in me as your senator, please don’t take away the best partner I could have in this fight. Every single day they’re coming after New Jersey,” Booker said.

For Menendez, the message Monday was about stopping Trump and staying with a proven fighter for New Jersey. For Hugin it was about creating jobs in New Jersey and ending Menendez’s long career. The weather forecast is talking about thunderstorms tomorrow.