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Embattled U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) is pivoting to accuse his Republican opponent, Bob Hugin, of being both anti-women and anti-gay for comments he made when he was the student leader of an exclusive, all-male eating club at Princeton University, reports the Burlington County Times.
Menendez’s campaign has attempted to highlight Hugin’s past support for excluding women from the club and his opposition to nondiscrimination protections for gay students. On Thursday, Hugin expressed regrets about his time as the leader of the Tiger Inn eating club during a time when the group fought to keep women excluded.
“I wish I could have evolved quicker on that,” Hugin said in a roundtable discussion with former State Sen. Diane Allen (R-Edgewater Park) and other women leaders on equal pay and women’s rights.
Menendez’s campaign quickly seized upon the issue, and pointed to the Tiger Inn’s court battle to exclude women, noting that Hugin had referred to the lawsuit as “politically correct fascism.”
The Menendez campaign also highlighted a 1976 Central Jersey Home News article where Hugin expressed disapproval of Princeton’s decision to expand its nondiscrimination policies to include LGBTQ students following an incident of vandalism directed against an on-campus student activist group. In that article, Hugin said that students should be able to decide whether to allow the policy to go forward, adding that if a member of the Tiger Inn was found to be gay, “he wouldn’t last long.”
“This is the real Bob Hugin: anti-women, and anti-gay,” Michael Soliman, the chairman of the Menendez campaign, told the Burlington County Times. “Bob Hugin was in a position to show real leadership on advancing the causes of women and the LGBTQ community and failed, instead perpetuating a culture of discrimination and hate. Bob Hugin can’t erase his past. He is a disgrace and unfit to represent New Jersey and all its vibrant diversity.”
Soliman added that voters shouldn’t be fooled by Hugin’s claim that his views have “evolved” since that time.
“I’m proud to say that my views are a lot different than they were 40 years ago,” Hugin said in a statement. “On this issue I was probably more influenced by my kids than anything else. They had insight at a very early age on the issues of equality and fairness that made me re-evaluate the way I saw the world.
“Personal growth should be seen as a strength, and more elected officials should embrace and be open to discussing it in their public lives,” he added. “As Senator, I will be a leader on issues of equality from day one.”
Hugin’s campaign has also implied that Menendez is being hypocritical, pointing to comments he made in a 2011 op-ed regarding his newfound support for same-sex marriage, despite having voted for the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives.
At the roundtable, Hugin had cited gay marriage and women in the military as two issues where his views had changed since being a college student. He also said he regretted his role in and stance on the Tiger Inn court case, and his inflammatory comment about “politically correct fascism.”
But Menendez’s campaign hasn’t let up, arguing that Hugin has supported candidates who have fought to “roll back women’s rights.” Soliman said that Hugin, if elected, would support “extreme Supreme Court justices who would reverse Roe v. Wade,” and pointed to the pharmaceutical executive’s role as a presidential delegate for Trump.
“As the nation’s highest-ranked elected Hispanic, Bob Menendez has fought his entire career to end discrimination and ensure all Americans, regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, or status in life, have an equal opportunity to achieve their full potential,” Soliman said in a statement.
Menendez is one of the most vulnerable Democrats in the U.S. Senate who is up for re-election this cycle, largely because of a 2015 indictment on corruption charges. Although the trial ended with a hung jury and federal prosecutors declined to retry the case, the Senate Ethics Committee — made up of both Democrats and Republicans — admonished Menendez that same year, saying he violated Senate rules, federal law, and “applicable standards of conduct.”
Hugin has sought to remind voters of Menendez’s ethical troubles, while Menendez has previously attacked Hugin’s record as chief executive of Celgene, a pharmaceutical company that has been attacked for increasing prices on drugs, particularly fighting to keep an expensive cancer drug from becoming generic.
But Menendez’s attacks seem not to have made a dent in Hugin’s poll numbers, as at least two polls have shown the two statistically tied. It remains to be seen whether his attack on Hugin’s views on social issues — and his campaign’s attempt to link the GOP candidate to President Trump — will sway any voters, particularly apathetic Democrats, to throw their support behind Menendez as the November election approaches.
The Republican nominee seeking to become New Jersey's next governor has come under fire from LGBTQ advocates after video footage emerged of a speech he gave during a campaign stop last month, in which he promised to "roll back" requirements that public schools provide LGBTQ-inclusive content in their curriculum.
Ciattarelli, a former state Assemblyman, made the comments during a June 26 appearance at the Tactical Training Center firearms store and gun range in Flemington, New Jersey, located in the more rural western portion of the state.
In remarks caught on video and later published by the blog Gothamist, the chief challenger to incumbent Gov. Phil Murphy (D) told the crowd of supporters he feels "lucky" that his children are in their 20s and he doesn't "have to be dealing with what you're dealing with right now."
A Baltimore teen has been charged with attempted murder and bias intimidation for allegedly beating, choking, and attempting to gouge out the eyes of a man he suspected of being gay in North Bergen, New Jersey.
According to a news release from New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal, authorities arrested José Tobias Carranza Serrano, also known as Kevin Lopez, for allegedly luring the victim into a densely wooded area near the south end of the lake in James J. Braddock North Hudson County Park, during the early morning hours of Tuesday, June 22, in order to kill him.
The victim, a 37-year-old man who has intellectual disabilities, was a stranger whom Carranza Serrano had never met before. After luring the man into the wooded area, prosecutors claim, Carranza Serrano punched and kicked the victim in the face, causing multiple fractures and knocking out several teeth. He also allegedly attempted to strangle the victim and gouge his eyes out, according to a complaint lodged in North Bergen Municipal Court.
Josh Mandel, considered the frontrunner for the Republican nomination for Ohio's 2022 U.S. Senate election, recently mused several times about gender identity and pronouns as he seeks to position himself as the preferred choice of social conservatives.
An internal poll from Remington Research Group released by Mandel's campaign in June found that the 43-year-old former state treasurer leads the field with 35% of the vote, ahead of Ohio Republican Party Chair Jane Timken, who earns 16% of the vote, and venture capitalist and Hillbilly Elegy author J.D. Vance, who stands at 6%, with 34% of likely Republican voters saying they are undecided. In a head-to-head matchup with Timken, Mandel leads 45%-22%.
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