Attack ads heat up U.S. Senate in New Jersey

Posted: Updated:
EDISON -

The U.S. Senate race in New Jersey is heating up with both candidates releasing attack ads on television.

Republican Bob Hugin is challenging Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez. Hugin is a former executive for the pharmaceutical company Celgene.

Hugin has had ads on TV for months, but Menendez just released his first one. Both candidates are attacking each other’s ethics.

Menendez faced a federal corruption trial last year that ended in a hung jury. The U.S. Justice Department dropped the charges after the trial. But the Senate Ethics Committee later admonished Menendez for his conduct. Hugin points all of this out in his advertisements.

Menendez returned the insult by charging that while Hugin led Celgene, the company raised prices on lifesaving cancer drugs. Hugin defended the move by saying that drug prices should be based on value.

“Bob Menendez has a huge lead, but those ads from Mr. Hugin have sort of carved into that a little bit,” says Seton Hall professor Matt Hale.

Hale says that Hugin had a head start on campaign ads with a deeper wallet. But he says that Menendez has a strong political organization behind him and more name recognition as the incumbent.

“I think that anytime you have a candidate who says he’s willing to spend $20 million of his own money you have to take that seriously,” says Hale.

The election will be held this November.

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