The Cook Political Report has shifted Sen. Bob Menendez’s (D-N.J.) reelection race to a toss-up in New Jersey, a depressing development for Democrats, who are having to protect a seat in a deep-blue state when they need to focus on protecting members in states where President Trump is more popular.
Menendez is facing a tough challenge from Republican Bob Hugin, a former pharmaceutical company CEO, in what’s become a closer-than-expected race in a state that Trump lost by 14 points in 2016. New Jersey hasn’t elected a Republican to the Senate since 1972.
Jennifer Duffy, a Senate analyst for Cook, wrote on Friday that the race has become solely about Menendez’s ethics problems and voters’ lack of enthusiasm. Menendez, who has denied any wrongdoing, has weathered attacks over his 2015 indictment of bribery and fraud charges.
His trial ended in a hung jury, and federal prosecutors later dropped the charges. But the Senate Ethics Committee “severely” admonished Menendez earlier this year over the case.
Read more at The Hill.