SPRINGFIELD, N.J. — A packed house of supporters excitedly welcomed the announcement from former C-Level Celgene executive, Bob Hugin, as he announced his intention to run for the Republican nomination for Senate, giving Democratic Senator Robert Menendez a substantial challenger in a well funded candidate. Menedez is presumed to seek re-election after federal corruption charges against him were dropped.

Mr. Hugin, 63, was a top executive at New Jersey-based Celgene for nearly 20 years, and has been exploring a bid for the Republican nomination for weeks, announcing his intent in an email on Monday followed by two official kickoff rallyies today. 

“The state of affairs in New Jersey is not great, in fact, in many ways, is headed in the wrong direction,” Mr. Hugin said, pledging to bring a sense of affordability and responsibility back to New Jersey, and an era of change in Washington, D.C.

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As of today, Menendez has not officially announced his re-election bid but his political advisors have signaled that he intends to run.  The new GOP candidate set the stage for what may be an expensive and negative race, explaining that his campaign would center around 'contrasts' between the two candidates.

“I’m embarrassed about how people think about New Jersey based on Senator Menendez’s behavior,” he said. “It’s embarrassing. He must be and he will be held accountable by the voters this November.”

Mr. Menendez is emerging from a several month long politically damaging corruption trial that ended in a mistrial after a jury was unable to reach a verdict. Recently a federal judge acquitted him of several of the charges and it is uncertain whether or not he will be subject to a new trial.

Mr. Hugin, originally from Union City, NJ spoke of his humble beginnings and strong work ethic.  He was a U.S. Marine veteran and pledged to fight for NJ's proper and duly owed representation in Washington. “If President Trump or any other Republican has an idea or a view that is bad for New Jersey, I will forcefully stand up and disagree with them,” he said.

Mr. Christie’s lieutenant governor, Kim Guadagno, was one of several prominent politicians present.  Also in attendance was Congressman Leonard Lance, who introduced Hugin, NJ State GOP Chair Doug Steinhardt, Assembly Republican Leader Jon Bramnick, Assemblywoman Nancy Munoz, Assemblyman Anthony Bucco and many other elected officials.

Mr. Hugin was introduced by his daughter Hilary who spoke, with emotion, of how great of a person and dad her father is. Also present was Hugin's wife of 30 years, Kathy.