Menendez, Hugin near the finish line as voters in NJ head to the polls

TRENTON, N.J. — Will the deeply blue state of New Jersey re-elect Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez? Or will voters opt for a change and put a former pharmaceutical executive Republican Bob Hugin in the job?

New Jersey has one million more registered Democrats than Republicans, but that’s no slam dunk for the scandal-plagued Menendez, whose federal corruption trial ended in a hung jury. As he left a federal courthouse after a verdict could not be reached, he emotionally addressed the cameras. “To the New Jersey-ians who stood by me, thank you.”

Challenger Hugin has been distancing himself from President Trump, choosing the label Independent Republican. He’s poured $36 million of his own cash into the campaign of one of the closest watched races in the nation.

This down and dirty race spared no punches. Hugin leveling accusations from an FBI document based on an uncorroborated anonymous tipster that Menendez hired underage prostitutes.

Hugin was slapped as a Trump rubber stamper. It’s all lead to a surprisingly close race that pundits say could easily swing either way.

Voters were in line at 6a.m. when polls opened in Harrison.

Voter Brian Peterson upon exiting said, “It’s important to vote. I just wanted to send a message. What was the message? I’m not happy with how things are going in Washington.”

Mark Horton and his wife exited together, and he said they discussed the issues and candidates and chose to vote together. “It’s important to us and it’s an important election and we needed to get out here. I want some civility back in the Capital.”

“I need to make a difference. If I’m not running for office, I need to be here voting," another voter said. "I am ready for some inclusion, some equality. I’m tired of all the separation in our nation happening. It’s not about a party, it’s about all of us. The people.”