JERSEY CITY -- A group called ‘Women for Menendez’ hosted a major fundraising event in Jersey City on Monday night for incumbent democratic Senator Bob Menendez.
Menendez is in a tight race with republican opponent Bob Hugin, a former executive at Celgene.
The fundraiser comes a day before the deadline to register to vote in New Jersey.
The packed fundraiser cost between $500-$5,400 per plate. City and county police kept tight security around the event, which brought a handful of protestors chanting against Menendez and Clinton.
Supporters believe Menendez is a fighter for New Jersey with a proven track record.
“Senator Menendez has fought for us for quite a while and now voting for him and supporting him is more important than ever,” said Cynthia Starke of Somerset County.
“I’m 100 percent positive Bob Menendez is going to win,” said Pam O’Donnell of Bayonne.
Green Party candidate for senate Madelyn Hoffman criticized the price of tickets to the event.
“It shows how out of touch our politics s are from the Democratic Party,” said Hoffman.
The event comes just hours after Hugin released a new campaign ad, slamming Menendez and labeling him a hypocrite for voting against Brett Kavanaugh. The ad cites unproven claims Menendez hired underage prostitutes on trips to the Dominican Republic.
“Unfortunately, as the race gets closer, I expect to see more dirty campaigning,” said Tara Dowdell, a democratic strategist based in Jersey City.
Dowdell said the polls generally show Menendez leading, but it is a tight race.
She blames that partly on Menendez’s 2015 bribery indictment, but says Hubin’s hands are also dirty for hiking prices of cancer drugs while an executive at biopharmaceutical company Celgene.
“Certainly it is a tighter race than I think most people would’ve expected,” said Dowdell.
Dowdell believes that gearing tonight’s event toward women was a smart political move for Menendez.
“Women voters, as we know, are driving this election cycle from all the data that we’re seeing,” said Dowdell. “So I think this is about Bob Menendez bringing in star power.”