NJSEN: Pezzullo says he’s out (if Hugin is in) for the fight to retire Menendez

Bob Hugin

U.S. Senate Candidate Rich Pezzullo offered to endorse Bob Hugin and suspend his Republican primary campaign on Friday, Save Jerseyans, assuming the latter enters the race for U.S. Senate.

“I actually like the guy and trust him to advance our agenda vigorously and fearlessly. I encourage him to quit waffling and get into the race,” Pezzullo told Save Jersey.

A Freehold Township businessman who ran in the 2014 GOP U.S. Senate primary, Pezzullo first announced his willingness to pass on an insurgent outsider campaign at Monmouth County’s Lincoln Day Dinner on Friday evening.

Hugin is a multi-millionaire and, until very recently, the top man at the pharmaceutical company Celgene. He’s also an acquaintance of Chris Christie and President Donald Trump. New Jersey’s hobbled GOP leadership hopes that an anticipated self-funding candidate with national connections can not only give ethically challenged incumbent Bob Menendez a run for his money but, in the process, inject much-needed resources and energy into the N.J. GOP.

He’s expected to announce his candidacy this month.

The only other announced GOP candidate at present is Essex County businessman Brian Goldberg.

New Jersey voters haven’t elected a Republican to the Senate since 1972, the last election cycle prior to Watergate. In 1978, Case lost the primary in his bid for a fifth Senate term to Jeff Bell. Bell ultimately lost to Bill Bradley in the general election.