News

New Jersey’s Booker wins Democratic Senate primary

New Jersey’s Booker wins Democratic Senate primary

Newark Mayor Cory Booker cruised to an easy victory in New Jersey's special Democratic primary. Photo: Associated Press

NEWARK, New Jersey (Reuters) – Newark Mayor Cory Booker cruised to an easy victory in New Jersey’s special Democratic primary on Tuesday in the race to fill a vacant U.S. Senate seat that has long been in Democratic hands.

If he wins the general election in October, Booker would become the state’s first black U.S. senator.

Booker, who had been widely expected to win after holding strong leads in public opinion polls, was declared the winner by the Star-Ledger newspaper on NJ.com and The Bergen Record on NorthJersey.com less than an hour after polls closed.

“As your United Senator the direction I’ll be most concerned with will not be right or left, it will be moving forward,” Booker told about 200 supporters and campaign staff outside Newark’s Prudential Center, one of the most visible signs of the downtrodden city’s rebirth under his leadership, an indoor arena where the Rolling Stones performed last year and the New Jersey Devils regularly play hockey.

“I’m going to the Senate the same way I came to Newark: Determined to be a positive force,” he said.

With 98 percent of precincts reporting, Booker had 59 percent of the vote, far ahead of his closest competitor, U.S. Representative Frank Pallone, who got 20 percent.

In the Republican primary, Steven Lonegan, former mayor of Bogota, New Jersey and a Tea Party conservative, was declared the unofficial winner over Alieta Eck, a physician, for the party’s spot in the October 16 special general election. Lonegan claimed 80 percent, compared with 20 percent for Eck, NorthJersey.com said.

A poll earlier this month showed Booker beating Lonegan 54 percent to 29 percent in a general election match-up.

Concern and controversy over the timing of the election emerged promptly after the Senate seat became open when Senator Frank Lautenberg died in June at age 89. The liberal Democrat had been elected to the Senate five times.

To elect a senator, Republican Governor Chris Christie called Tuesday’s primary and set a special election for October 16, three weeks ahead of the November 5 general election, when he is seeking re-election.

To fill the seat temporarily, Christie named Jeffrey Chiesa, a Republican who said he would not seek the seat on a permanent basis.

Democrats charged that the two fall elections should have been scheduled for the same day but that Christie was trying to avoid being on the same ballot as Booker, who could attract strong Democratic and minority turnout.

Turnout was thin in Tuesday’s primary, held amid the summer vacation season.

Also seeking the Democratic Party’s nomination with Pallone were Representative Rush Holt and state Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver. But they found little traction against the well-funded and well-known Booker, considered a rising political star.

Recent Headlines

6 hours ago in Local

New Director Named to ALPLM

FILE - In this Feb. 10, 2012 file photo, school students enter the "White House" as a life-size Abraham Lincoln replica stands outside, while touring the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield, Ill. The chairman of the foundation behind the Library and Museum says fundraising is drying up because of tensions between library directors and the state agency that oversees it.

Governor Rauner announces two new appointees, one to the Lincoln Presidential Museum and Library.

9 hours ago in Local

Qik-N-Ez Robbery Suspect in Arrested

arrest clipart

Cody Desilva was found with two other subjects in a car on 4th Street early Saturday morning. The other two persons were released.

24 hours ago in Local

Multiple Accident Ties Up Traffic: Police Cite Driver With Medical Emergency

ambulance

A multiple accident ties up traffic in Springfield during morning rush hour.

1 day ago in Local

Home Health Care Advocates Beg Governor Rauner To Keep Overtime

SEIU_Healthcare

Advocates of Home Health Care push for Governor Rauner to reconsider banning overtime

1 day ago in Local

Springfield-Based Ag Manufacturer Takes Over Utah Company

brandt fertilizer

A Springfield-based agriculture products manufacturer is on the move once again to expand its portfolio.