>> I've made my share of mistakes, but my mistakes were never a crime.>> An ethics scandal is creating headaches for Democrats at the worst possible time as they fight an uphill battle for control of the Senate. I'm Andy Sullivan in Washington where analysts say Democrats will have a tough time next Tuesday winning the conservative states they'll need to take control of the Senate.
On top of that, they're now struggling in a state that should be a slam dunk, New Jersey. Incumbent Democrat Bob Menendez has been dogged by a lobbying scandal that's alienating many voters.>> It's unanimous->> Republican challenger Bob Hugin hammering Menendez in campaign ads, accusing him of corruption.
>> He accepted private plane travel, luxury Caribbean vacations, a trip to a fancy Paris hotel.>> Menendez accused by prosecutors of doing favors for a wealthy donor and covering up the luxury vacations and private jet trips he got in return. Menendez's' colleagues in the Senate earlier this year finding that he violated ethics rules.
Menendez defiant after a criminal trial ended with a hung jury last year.>> To those who are digging my political grave, I know who you are. And I won't forget you.>> The New Jersey's Star-Ledger reluctantly endorsing him over Hugin, a drug company executive, calling it, quote, the most depressing choice for New Jersey voters in a generation.
Democratic campaign groups are now spending at least $7 million to sure at Menendez' bid, leaving less to spend on races they must win in order to control the Senate. They need to hold on to the 49 seats they have and pick up two more, but they're struggling in key races.
>> We have seen the mob rule in Washington, D.C.>> Reuters IPSOS polling shows Republican Martha McSally with a narrow lead in Arizona over Democrat Kyrsten Sinema. Republican Dean Heller ahead in Nevada over Democratic challenger Jacky Rosen. Democratic incumbent Claire McCaskill effectively tied in Missouri with Republican challenger Josh Hawley.
Democrats are defending ten seats, many of them in Republican leaning states. The last thing they need is a competitive race in deep blue New Jersey. Analysts say Menendez is still likely to win reelection, but at a substantial cost to his party.