Sen. Bob Menendez of New Jersey isn’t likely to tout his endorsement by the state’s largest newspaper any time soon.
Voters in the Garden State will head to the polls next week and the Newark-based The Star-Ledger is telling them to “choke down” a Menendez salad instead of opting for Republican challenger Bob Hugin.
“It’s a miracle that Menendez escaped criminal conviction,” the editorial board wrote of his November 2017 mistrial on bribery and fraud charges. “[It’s] an act of profound narcissism that he stayed in the race despite this baggage, putting a Democratic seat at risk while Donald Trump sits in the White House.”
The newspaper’s editors admonished him for breaking Senate rules by surreptitiously accepting expensive gifts and promoting “the personal and business interests of the man who paid the bills,” but they ultimately rejected Mr. Hugin.
“The bigger concern is Hugin’s admiration for Trump,” the newspaper wrote. “Many Republicans felt duty-bound to support Trump in 2016, but Hugin charged to the front of the parade and waved the flag.”
“He gave more than $200,000 to the Trump cause. He volunteered as Trump’s finance chair in New Jersey. He served as a Trump delegate at the convention,” the editors continued. “He praised him on Fox TV as a ‘constructive and engaged’ president.”
The newspaper was also concerned about Mr. Hugin’s vague stances on certain issues and campaign ads that suggest “Menendez patronized child prostitutes in the Dominican Republic.”
“Our hope is that voters remember that Trump is on the ballot, that they choke down their reluctance and vote for Menendez. He’s no gem, but he’s better than Hugin,” the editorial board wrote of the state’s “depressing” situation.