Star-Ledger endorses Menendez: 'He's no gem, but he's better than Hugin'

Star-Ledger endorses Menendez: 'He's no gem, but he's better than Hugin'
© Anna Moneymaker

The editorial board of The Star-Ledger, the largest newspaper in New Jersey, has endorsed Sen. Bob MenendezRobert (Bob) MenendezEnding the Cyprus arms embargo will increase tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean We can accelerate a cure for Alzheimer's The Hill's 12:30 Report: Manafort sentenced to total of 7.5 years in prison MORE (D), writing Sunday that the Democrat is "no gem, but he's better than [Bob] Hugin," his GOP challenger in next week's midterm elections.

In a piece titled "Choke it down, and vote for Menendez," the editorial board, noting that the incumbent was indicted on corruption before the charges were ultimately dropped, said he would be a safeguard against President TrumpDonald John TrumpThe Hill's Morning Report - White House, Congress: Urgency of now around budget GOP presses Trump to make a deal on spending Democrats wary of handing Trump a win on infrastructure MORE.

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"The central issue in this race is Donald Trump. The question is which candidate can best fight Trump's toxic policies, his grotesque appeals to racial and ethnic tribalism, and his corrosive attacks on the pillars of our democracy, starting with the rule of law. That makes this an easy decision: Menendez is the better choice, by far. He has our endorsement," the editorial reads.

The Star-Ledger wrote, however, that both candidates are "awful" and said the race "presents the most depressing choice for New Jersey voters in a generation."

"But please, don't walk away. Being a patriotic American is not just about fighting enemies abroad or helping flood victims at home. It's about making our democracy work, even when pulling the lever brings no joy," the board added.

Polling has shown a close race between Menendez and Hugin, with most indicating Menendez has a single-digit advantage.

Menendez's campaign has been weakened by his 2015 indictment on charges of bribery and fraud. 

But Trump is deeply unpopular president in New Jersey, and Menendez has attacked Hugin over his ties to the president. Hugin in 2016 served as the chairman of Trump’s New Jersey campaign.

The Cook Political Report rates the race as a "toss-up."