Philhellene Democratic Bob Menendez of NJ Wins Re-election to Senate

Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez celebrates at his campaign headquarters in Hoboken, N.J., Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018, after winning re-election to a third term to the United States Senate. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — A year to the day after a federal jury began deliberating corruption charges against him, New Jersey Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez on Tuesday fended off his wealthy Republican challenger to win re-election.

Menendez, 64, defeated Republican Bob Hugin after a grueling and often ugly campaign to win a third term.

In front of cheering supporters, Menendez called it “a victory of hope over hate, facts over fiction, inclusion over division, for hard work over ripping people off.

“I’m so proud that New Jerseyans rejected the politics of personal destruction and the false, negative salacious ads,” he added, referring to the Hugin campaign’s television ads linking him to unsubstantiated years-old allegations of liaisons with underage prostitutes that surfaced before his corruption charges.


Polls showed Hugin, 64, a former executive with drug maker Celgene, and Menendez much closer than expected in overwhelmingly Democratic New Jersey.

In seeking to become the first Republican elected to the Senate from New Jersey since 1972, Hugin tapped his deep pockets for more than $30 million and spent on TV ads attacking Menendez over the 2017 trial on charges that he helped a friend with Medicare billing in exchange for lavish gifts.

The charges were dropped this year after a mistrial last fall. Menendez had always denied wrongdoing, but the Senate Ethics Committee admonished him and concluded that he violated the law.

He apologized to the public in a TV interview and in the race’s only debate in the weeks before the election.

In his concession speech Tuesday, Hugin told supporters that he was proud that his campaign created “a new template” for Republicans by reaching out to urban areas in all corners of the state and letting people know “we represent all of New Jersey.”

“I wasn’t the right messenger to get it delivered, but we opened the door,” he said.

U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez celebrates his re-election in Hoboken, N.J., Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018, while Gov. Phil Murphy stands at right. (Tom Gralish/The Philadelphia Inquirer via AP)

One of Menendez’s supporters at his victory party was Evelyn Arroyo-Maultsby, a member of the jury at his 2017 corruption trial who was excused midway through deliberations for a scheduled vacation. Arroyo-Maultsby told The Record on Tuesday night that Menendez was “a great man” and repeated her contention from after the trial that he had done nothing wrong.

Another supporter Samantha Bohr, 26, of Parsippany-Troy Hills, said she backed Menendez despite the trial.

“At the end of the day it was a hard choice, and when the good outweighs the bad, you just have to go with it,” Bohr said.

Bohr said she backed Menendez on the expectation that he will be a voice in the Senate to protect health care for Americans and work for immigration reform.

The race was particularly significant because Democrats sought to defend 26 seats, including 10 incumbents running in states that President Donald Trump won in 2016.

Nearly all New Jersey’s voters casting midterm election ballots said deciding who controls Congress played a role in their decision, according to a wide-ranging survey of the American electorate.

AP VoteCast found most said that Trump was a factor in their vote, while a majority also said the country is headed in the wrong direction.

AP VoteCast, an innovative nationwide survey of about 138,000 voters and nonvoters — including 3,800 voters and 664 nonvoters in the state of New Jersey — conducted for The Associated Press by NORC at the University of Chicago.

Menendez’s 2015 corruption indictment in which federal prosecutors charged that he accepted lavish gifts from a Florida eye doctor who is his friend in exchange for helping him with a Medicare billing issue was a central issue in the campaign.

Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., is embraced as he celebrates at his campaign headquarters in Hoboken, N.J., Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018, after winning re-election to a third term to the United States Senate. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)

Hugin, though, concentrated on scandalous details in the trial, calling Menendez untrustworthy and highlighting a Senate Ethics Committee admonition letter that took him to task. The ethics panel concluded Menendez’s actions “reflected discredit upon the Senate.”

Menendez defended himself by pointing to votes for women’s rights and on health care. He also attacked Hugin over his time at Celgene, which settled for $280 million on Hugin’s watch in 2017 over allegations it promoted cancer drugs that were not approved by the Food and Drug Administration.

The company didn’t admit liability, and Hugin points to the life-saving drugs that the company makes for cancer patients.

The race was ugly at times.

Hugin ran an ad that referred to the allegations involving prostitutes, which Menendez called “lies.”

But the barrage of negative ads led to outside Democratic groups pouring money into the race. Senate Majority PAC, for example, said in the final weeks of the campaign that it was spending $3 million on TV ads.

President Donald Trump seemed to be a factor in the campaign. Menendez raised him as a boogeyman and said Hugin would effectively be a rubber stamp for him in Washington.

Hugin, who contributed to Trump’s campaign and appeared at the White House for a roundtable talk about drug prices alongside Trump, largely tried to keep his distance. He said he would be an independent voice for the state.

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By MICHAEL CATALINI and DAVID PORTER , Associated Press

AP writer Adam Geller contributed to this report.

2 Comments

  1. Yeah another 6yrs of criminality….to be a politician, to be a crook to be Menendez…I promise to help any ethnic group that gives me money and votes, I promise to steal as much as I can while in office so I can retire rich…thank you to all that voted for me
    especially those of you in Alcatraz, Thanks To TNH for support, because when you back a crook they usually win..

    1. As a Greek American…. and a life long resident of New Jersey…. and while Pavlo Serritas accurately described exactly who the voters of New Jersey elected… he does not adequately …. explain how this corrupt member of the swamp …. with no conscious….. run for office… and then be elected … and not be held accountable for representing only those who provide money to him … and in this case a Florida Doctor …who showered him with money, gifts and even call girls for his pleasure…in order to circumvent an investigation of the good doctor for Medicare Fraud.! For his part in the matter …the benefactor of Mr. Menendez…..and collaborator in the charges with Mr. Menendez…..was ultimately convicted of Medicare fraud…to the tune of millions of dollars. …and will be spending a long time in a Federal Prison!

      However, TNH on behalf of the Ahepa Masons democratic party wing …whose members ….are democratic elitist …and party members … including being the number one fund raisers of the democratic nominee for President Hillary Clinton in New Jersey…another …financial prostitute of a government ….corrupt beyond repair…..should be congratulated and given credit … in successfully…..in again legitimizing …. the actions of criminal elements of our government by enforsing and promoting to all Greeks ….that they vote for this man …because he is a member of the Greek Secret society of Ahepa Masons….the fraudulent self proclaimed protector of Greek interests! However, the never mentioned that he is an honorary member and payed employee of many ethnic and religious groups in New Jersey….including the famous Jewish lobby for Israel….who contributes about a million dollars…to his campaign pursuits….and believe me ….his record of accomplishments for Israel ….as Chairman of the Foreign Relation committee…..are unmatched by any other senator!

      However, let look at what TNH and Mainstream Media …have legitimized to fool the Public ….and reveals how …our country is controlled and manipulated to represent the interests of the benefactors of this honorable group of fake news ..

      1. TNH….have now …successfully for the first time ever ….in endorsing and promoting Mr Menendez…..”Legitimized Public Corruption” as a perfectly acceptable and ethical conduct of our government representatives and leaders!

      2. TNH…. has also “Legitimized illegal Wars” based on lies …by not publicly making George Bush Jr. and Barack Obama accountable for the illegal policy of Regime changes thruout the Middle East!

      3. TNH…..has also “legitimized the War Crimes and Crimes against Humanity’ in prosecuting the perpetual wars and the killing of civilians of foreign countries and the breaking of international laws by the elected leaders of America by not making them accountable publicly for all the evidence available to them!

      4… TNh…has also “legitimized the election of hand picked candidates of Aristocratic elitist billionaires to represent their interests ….not those of the people !

      5. TNH….has also “legitimized the economic and military fascist warfare” by Nato …in concealing their illegal actions and provocations against foreign countries not under the protection and control of the United States and Nato…like libya, Syria, Iraq….and of course…Yemen etc etc.

      6. TNH …Has also “legitimized the right of the media” to continue to promote campaigns of misinformation by political parties and elitist …which have done great damage to our domestic and international relations …including the false and unproven narratives….that Russia is an enemy of America…who colluded with the other enemy of the media …Donald Trump in fraudulently winning an election!

      7… TNh and Mainstream media ….”has legitimized the defamation of members of our government ” by distorting information …which labels unfavorable ….. anybody considered a threat to the ruling establishment!

      Hopefully you understand…who should really be credited with not only the election of Mr. Menendez. …and now making …. bribery and unethical conduct …. as a new standard of acceptable conduct by our elected officials….but for being the driving force in not making anybody in government accountable for the wars ….they sell!

      What you should understand …. is this has always been the ruling tool for the Anglo white supremacist of America and their corporate billionaires!

      As the author of the Pentagon Papers which revealed the decadent behavior and criminal actions of our leaders of this mythical democracy stated….and can be applied to the brain dead voters of New Jersey….

      “It is a tribute to the American People ….that their leaders and representatives
      perceived it necessary to lie to them to wage war….however, it is not a tribute
      to the Public ….that they could so easily be fooled”
      Daniiel Esberg- Pentagon Papers …Vietnam War

      On behalf of all Greek Americans…. congratulations….you fooled us again!

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