As Race Tightens, Political Handicapper Moves NJ-Sen. to ‘Toss Up’ As Race Tightens, Political Handicapper Moves NJ-Sen. to ‘Toss Up’ – NTK Network

As Race Tightens, Political Handicapper Moves NJ-Sen. to ‘Toss Up’

With just 11 days to go until Election Day, the Cook Political Report is now calling the New Jersey Senate race a “toss up.”

By NTK Staff | 10.26.2018 @10:23am
As Race Tightens, Political Handicapper Moves NJ-Sen. to ‘Toss Up’

Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) thought he was in trouble last year when he faced federal corruption charges. But it could be his 2018 troubles that cause the biggest problems for the Democrat.

The Cook Political Report, a well-respected Washington, D.C.-based political prognosticator and handicapper, said it’s moving its New Jersey Senate race rating from “Lean Democrat” to “Toss Up,” thanks to a series of closer-than-expected polls released in recent weeks. Menendez is running against Republican Bob Hugin.

Despite Menendez’s corruption charges, which ended in a mistrial in late 2017, few expected the Senate race in true-blue New Jersey to be a close contest. But it appears voters have grown weary of their scandal-plagued senior senator.

Here’s what Cook’s Jennifer Duffy wrote Friday:

The biggest threat to Menendez’s re-election is not so much Hugin than it is the voter who goes to the polls and decides to send Menendez a message, much the way many did in the primary when 38 percent voted for his unknown primary opponent. There is certainly a thumb on the scale for Menendez, who is said to have a lead of between four and six points, in this very blue state, but the race is close enough to warrant a move to Toss Up.

Duffy also noted that Menendez’s opponent is outspending him, particularly on the TV airwaves. Hugin has spent $27.7 million, while Menendez has only spent $11.8 million. Outside groups have come in to help Menendez, but the investment might be too late to have a serious impact.

A poll released earlier this week showed Hugin within five points of Menendez.

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