Sally Kalksma, an Ocean County Board of Elections employee and cancer survivor who loaned Ocean County GOP Chairman George Gilmore $300,000 recently appeared in a new campaign ad supporting Republican U.S. Senate candidate Bob Hugin.
“I wouldn’t be alive today without Bob Hugin,” Kalksma said in the campaign ad, praising the drug Revlimid developed by the GOP U.S. Senate hopeful’s company, Celgene. She said that the Hugin company’s drug saved her life and allowed her to recover from cancer, and said that the senate candidate’s business leadership is what allowed the drug to come to market. “He’s going to make an unbelievable senator.”
The 30-second video advertisement paints a positive spin on Hugin’s past as an executive at the company, which manufactures pharmaceuticals and drugs. In competing campaign advertisements, Hugin’s Democratic opponent, U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D – Hudson) has spun his Republican challenger’s time at Celgene in a negative light, with Menendez and his surrogates accusing Hugin of raising prices on cancer patients.
In 2017, Kalksma, a cancer survivor, gave Gilmore a loan of $300,000.
The New Jersey Globe first reported on the connection between the new Hugin campaign ad and Kalksma, who is an employee of the Ocean County Board of Elections, which is chaired by Gilmore.
Last year, the FBI subpoenaed the county board of elections and other government agencies for records concerning Gilmore and his law firm. At issue in the federal probe of the influential county Republican chairman is Gilmore’s unpaid federal taxes as well as several loans and mortgages received by the chairman from various sources, some tied to public entities.
It still remains unclear what will become of the federal investigation into the Ocean County GOP chairman.