TOMS RIVER, NJ – When New Jersey GOP Chairman Doug Steinhardt announced he was running for Governor of New Jersey, he was obligated to step down from his position as the party chairman. Now, an election will be held on Tuesday to choose his successor. Those in the running are former GOP Chairman Michael Lavery and failed U.S. Senate candidate and never-Trumper, Bob Hugin.
Hugin has allied himself with another never-Trumper, Jack Ciattarelli who is running for Governor. When Trump ran for President, Ciattarelli said Trump was a charlatan who was not fit to be President of the United States.
In essence, the “Never Trumpers” are trying to seize control of the New Jersey Republican Party in the wake of President Donald J. Trump, led by Ciattarelli, anti-Trump Republican strategist Chris Russell and other Republican anti-Trump operatives that have lurked in the shadows in New Jersey during the President’s tenure.
In 2018, Bob Hugin spent $40,000,000 in a U.S. Senate campaign in which he lost to embattled Democrat Senator Robert Menendez. Later, President Trump said Hugin lost because he failed to embrace Trump as the President. Hugin did as much as he possibly could to keep a distance between himself and the President.
Trump pointed out the glaring similarity between several Republican candidates who lost to Democrats in 2018 and their lack of public support for the President. Like Ciattarelli, Hugin ran his campaign in a vacuum that didn’t include Trump. Like Ciattarelli, Hugin never spoke the President’s name if he didn’t have to. He even went as far as to object against building the border wall while at a campaign stop in Berkeley Township. Hugin also didn’t support Trump’s hardline stance against illegal immigration either.
“In New Jersey, I think he could have done well, but it didn’t work out too good, Bob Hugin, I feel badly, because I think that’s something that could have been won. That’s a race that could have been won,” Trump said after Hugin’s lost, blaming on his non-support of the President. Trump gave Hugin an 11th hour endorsement, which failed to move the needle for Hugin.
In 2018, illegal immigration was a hot topic in New Jersey as Governor Phil Murphy began rolling out his sanctuary state polices. Hugin’s immigration policy was more in line with Murphy than it was with Trump and Republican voters and many hardline conservatives made Hugin pay the price for his anti-Trump rhetoric on the campaign trail.
At one campaign stop, Hugin called Trump’s immigration policies racist, anti-Semitic and inflammatory.
“I don’t believe anybody is well served by inflammatory comments, whether they be racist, anti-Semitic, offensive in any way,” Hugin said of Trump. “Part of the problem is our country is too partisan. We’ve got to get people — elect people — who are going to work together to solve the people’s problems.”
Hugin doubled down on his criticism of the President.
“I think there has been much of the president’s rhetoric that has been inflammatory,” Hugin said. “He’d have to speak for himself. I don’t know what his intentions are. But my observation is I find some of the rhetoric inflammatory.”
Hugin, while on the campaign trail did as much as he could to distance himself from Trump, even declaring that he is not a “Trump Republican”.
Watch as Hugin says how much he opposes Trump: