Hugin defends campaign ads attacking Sen. Menendez

Posted: Updated:

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Bob Hugin is defending his campaign commercials criticizing incumbent Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez.

Hugin is a former executive at the pharmaceutical company Celgene. His campaign recently released a commercial that made reference to claims that Menendez had sex with underage prostitutes.

“Here’s a man who has led his life with such disrepute and such immoral activity,” Hugin says.

The campaign ad claims that Menendez traveled to the Dominican Republic to engage in sexual activity with prostitutes. But what the ad fails to mention is that the FBI failed to find any evidence of the claim and closed the investigation.

Menendez called out Hugin at a news conference Wednesday afternoon.

“He’s a slimeball, he’s a misogynist and he’s a liar,” Menendez said.

RELATED: Menendez calls out opponent Hugin after ‘prostitute’ attack ad
Menendez vs. Hugin is a Senate race to watch
RELATED: Attack ads heat up U.S. Senate in New Jersey

But Hugin says that his attacks are all fair game.

“I think the people of New Jersey deserve to understand the facts about this guy,” he says.

The senator was previously tried on bribery and corruption charges. The alleged incidents with prostitutes were not part of this case. A federal judge declared a mistrial after jurors failed to come to a unanimous verdict. The justice department later dropped the charges.

But that did not stop the Senate Ethics Committee from severely admonishing Menendez for taking gifts from his friend, now convicted felon Dr. Salomon Melgen, allegedly in exchange for political favors.

New Jersey has a history of voting for Democrats. A Republican senator has not been elected in the state in 46 years.

A recent Quinnipiac University poll says that Menendez leads Hugin by seven points. The senator is up 51 to 44 percent, according to the poll. More women were supporting Menendez, 56 to 38 percent.

But more than half the people asked in the poll see Menendez “unfavorably.”

Hugin says that he can sway women to vote for him, as they get to know him – even as the head of the Republican Party, President Donald Trump, hurls insults at his opponents. Trump recently called adult film star Storm Daniels “horseface.”

“I don’t think it’s appropriate to call anybody names and it’s beneath the president of the United States,” Hugin says.

Hugin has spent nearly three times as much money on his campaign than Menendez.

Election Day is Nov. 6.

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