Hugin Wants to be the Guy You Literally Have a Beer with in Morris, as Doherty Sounds off on ‘Pocahontas’ in Warren


Bob Hugin was in the middle of a long day so it was hardly a surprise when he walked into a Morristown bar Friday night and said, “I need a beer.”

No craft beer for the guy from Union City; he was soon cradling a bottle of Bud.

At least 200 people had jammed into the dimly-lit basement of Morristown’s Iron Bar to hear Hugin and a number of warm-up speakers talk about getting out the vote for the GOP.

Hugin came with some good news. He said internal polls have him leading Democrat Bob Menendez by two points. This was the same day that a Stockton University poll put Menendez in the lead by 12 points.

Two observations come to mind. One is that internal polls are notoriously unreliable. The other is that 12 points seems too big a gap.

The polls aside, these are not normal times for Morris Republicans.

There is genuine worry that Democrats, who made significant gains in the county last year, will duplicate that feat on Tuesday. Up for grabs countywide are three freeholder seats and the county clerk.

Speakers talked – hopefully – that the county remains a GOP bastion with conservative values.

Jay Webber, the party’s CD-11 candidate, said Democrats are going “bonkers.” and that the only way for Republicans to stop them is to vote in great numbers.

On one hand, that sounds like typical talk at a political rally. Yet on the other hand, it could be a hint things are not looking all that rosy. After all, not too long ago, Morris Republicans would win elections even if they did not vote in great numbers.

State Sen. Anthony Bucco of Boonton said, “We are under attack in Morris County.”

Actually, the only thing going on is a competitive election. But you see, these things don’t normally happen in Morris County.

Morristown is very much a drinking town, something Hugin seemed well aware of.

“Where else would you rather be on a Friday night than a freakin bar in Morristown,” Hugin happily told the crowd.

That wrapped up the Morristown event on a high note, but Hugin’s night was not over. Despite heavy rain, he and his campaign team headed to another rally in Warren County. By the time Hugin arrived at the American Legion hall in Hackettstown, two local favorites already had energized the crowd. – state Sen. Michael Doherty and Chuck Haytaian, who ran for the U.S. Senate 24 years ago against Frank Lautenberg.

This was a different crowd, a different county and much more strident rhetoric.

Doherty, for instance, somehow found an opportunity to refer to Elizabeth Warren as Pocahontas, just like the president does.

Hugin, sensing the mood of the audience offered a compliment and a challenge. He said that Warren and neighboring Sussex counties are rightly considered the most loyal Republican counties in the state. And then he challenged the 100 or so people on hand to get out the vote.

As for Menendez, Hugin kept things short and to the point.

“It’s simple, the guy’s a bad guy.” he said.

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