OLD BRIDGE, NJ – The New Jersey Republican establishment and elements of the base, too, are preparing to coalesce around former Celgene executive Bob Hugin when he announces his candidacy for U.S. Senate on Tuesday in a two-stage event roll out.
At least one GOP primary challenger is holding out.
Hours before the Hugin campaign launched, Essex County businessman Brian Goldberg issued a statement that seemed to be directed squarely at his well-heeled primary rival.
“This campaign is not going to be won with an ‘air war’. Whatever expensive media purchases we might make, Senator Menendez and the Democrats would surely match,” said Goldberg. “We are going to win with a widespread team of grassroots ground troops, troops I can relate to having actually done the hard work of campaigning rather than just showing up at fundraisers for big names. A grassroots team pulling together in a party infrastructure rebuilt to last and, critically, be sustainable for the future.”
Supporters anticipate Hugin, who made millions in the pharmaceutical industry, could invest up to $20 million in his own campaign in the quest to unseat the ethically-challenged Bob Menendez.
Goldberg, who runs a family-owned decorative concrete business, will play the underdog role should he choose to remain in the contest. He unsuccessfully sought the Republican Senate nomination back in 2014. One of his primary opponents from that cycle, Rich Pezzullo of Monmouth County, has already begged off of a campaign this year in order to support Hugin. According to the FEC’s website, Goldberg reported $150 cash on hand as of the end of 2017.