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Analysis: New Jersey Senate Race Just Got Interesting

GLASSBORO, NJ (CBS) --  New Jersey Senator Bob Menendez this past week got a Republican challenger who has enough of his own money to wage a serious challenge in the fall.

Talk to Ben Dworkin at the Rowan University Institute for Public Policy and Citizenship and he'll tell you Republican leaders in New Jersey are more than happy to see retired pharmaceutical executive Bob Hugin get in the race.

"When you're not likely to win as is the case for a Republican running statewide in New Jersey in 2018, it helps to find somebody like Bob Hugin who can self finance his race," Dworkin told KYW Newsradio.

Hugin will need to spend millions to get on TV in New York and Philadelphia.

Retired Businessman Enters Race To Replace NJ Sen. Bob Menendez

Not to say Menendez doesn't have issues, mostly centered to restoring his political reputation. He may not have a second corruption trial, but voters will remember the first one, which ended with a hung jury.

"The Republicans have a major candidate here," Dworkin added, "and this is going to be a very competitive election, but Trump is going to be the dominant theme more than likely."

That could help Menendez in a state with an overwhelming Democratic registration.

Hugin says he'll stand up to the President on issues they differ on, but look for Democrats to highlight Hugin's sizable donations to the Trump campaign, as well as Chris Christie's brief flirtation with a White House run.

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