Analysis: What happened to Bob Menendez this week?

Bob Menendez won re-nomination to his US Senate seat.

David Madden
June 08, 2018 - 9:00 pm
Bob Menendez

Kevin R. Wexler-USA TODAY Sports


WEST LONG BRANCH, NJ (KYW Newsradio) -- This week's primary in New Jersey provided no real surprises, save for one at the top of the Democratic ticket. 
Sure. Bob Menendez won re-nomination to his US Senate seat. But his primary opponent, Lisa McCormick, garnered almost 40% of the vote. Monmouth University political science professor Patrick Murray suggests that's a little too close for a two term incumbent in a decidedly blue state against a virtual unknown.
"In a non-competitive primary where there's only token opposition, you would expect an incumbent senator to get at least 75% of the vote if not more," Murray told KYW Newsradio.
He suggests many Democrats, particularly on the progressive side of the street, are not happy with Menendez, given his federal bribery trial that ended with a hung jury last year. But Murray still expects in the fall, most Democrats will opt for Menendez over Republican Bob Hugin. 
"Voters in New Jersey are really concerned about President Trump," Murray added. "They're concerned about what happened in the tax reform package. A lot of people feel like they got the short end of the stick here. And so when you look at all those things, you'll find that those are more important to them even if they're going to have to hold their nose in order to vote for Bob Menendez."
Hugin, a retired pharmaceutical executive, bested another unknown, Brian Goldberg, by better than 3 to 1 to gain the Republican nomination. He also spent some $2 million of his own money to get his name out and is expected to spend millions more in the general election.