Cook Political Report moves #NJSen race to “toss up” column

By The Staff
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One of America’s leading political prognostications outfits has moved the race between Bob Hugin (R) and Bob Menendez to the toss up column, Save Jerseyans:

“There is an addition to the Toss Up column as the race in New Jersey moves there from the Lean Democratic column. The contest isn’t about anything else but Democratic U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez and his ethics problems. His opponent, pharmaceutical CEO Bob Hugin, has outspent the incumbent, $27.7 million to $11.8 million, according to the pre-election FEC report, and most of Hugin’s money has funded television ads. The Senate Majority PAC, the Democrats’ Senate super PAC, has now invested nearly $6.5 million in the race, including a $3 million advertising buy this week. This investment levels the playing field somewhat, but Hugin still holds a very definitive advantage on television.

The biggest threat to Menendez’s re-election is not so much Hugin than it is the voter who goes to the polls and decides to send Menendez a message, much the way many did in the primary when 38 percent voted for his unknown primary opponent. There is certainly a thumb on the scale for Menendez, who is said to have a lead of between four and six points, in this very blue state, but the race is close enough to warrant a move to Toss Up.”

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Click here for the full analysis.

While the RCP polling average reflects a 7.7% Menendez lead, the most recent public poll found Menendez up by just 5-points, and both Hugin (who is a self-made millionaire) and National Democrats have invested millions more into this race down the homestretch, moves which signal very tight internal polling.

The aforementioned poll (from Rutgers-Eagleton) found Menendez losing independents and facing a considerable enthusiasm gap in his base attributable in large part to his many ethical problems.

The Republican challenger will get another boost today. On Friday, Hugin is scheduled to accept the endorsement of New Jersey’s largest Latino political organization, one which endorsed Menendez and Murphy in each man’s last respective elections.

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