Current Newark Mayor Cory Booker won the Democratic nomination on the road to becoming New Jersey’s first black senator. In elections held on Tuesday Booker won the support of voters by a wide gap in the Democratic primary. He moves on to New Jersey’s special Senate election as the party’s nominee.
“Thank you. It was such an honor to be your nominee, to be your Democratic nominee for the United States Senate,” said Booker. The voter turnout was low but Booker won 59% of the vote and held celebrations with supporters late Tuesday night in Newark. “The direction I will be most concerned with will not be right or left, it will be with going forward,” he said.
The senate seat had been vacated by the late Democratic senator Frank Lautenberg. He died at the age of 89 in June of 2013. Lautenberg was initially elected in 1982 and served until 2001; after a short retirement, he was again elected in 2003 until his death. He was known for his work in proposing legislation against drunk driving.
Cory Booker could possibly be New Jersey’s first black senator if he is successful against the Republican nominee. Booker beat out a crowded field of Democratic nominees for his position. Rep. Frank Pallone, Rep. Rush Holt and General Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver were among the candidates for the Democratic nomination.
Booker will go head-to-head with GOP front man, former mayor Steve Lonegan of Bogota New Jersey. They will face off in a special election to be held in October. Lonegan, state director of the Conservative Group of Americans for Prosperity, won his primary against Republican physician Alieta Eck. Lonegan won 79% of the vote in the political matchup.
Lonegan has the endorsement of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie but trails Booker in a hypothetical matchup among registered voters 29%-54%. A poll was completed by Quinnipiac University which released its findings of the matchup scenario. Christie has appointed an interim Republican to hold the seat until completion of the senate race.
Booker received celebratory nods from Oprah Winfrey, comedian Sarah Silverman, California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons, Ivanka Trump, and writer/actress Lena Dunham. Booker’s competitor Lonegan blasted him in his victory speech upon winning the Republican nomination. Lonegan stated Booker was anointed by Hollywood and is supported by Silicon Valley moguls looking to make him California’s third U.S. senator.
Booker, 44, sees his high profile as a means to an end. “I find ways to break through the noise of the country and more effectively advocate and get things done,” he said. Many believe Booker could be an effective leverage for the Democratic Party. Critics contend that he represents the interests of big business and seeks self-gratification.
Cory Booker has a solid chance to become New Jersey’s first black senator and he is not short of supporters. Booker’s high profile has helped in him raising massive fundraising dollars for campaign purposes. As a senate candidate Booker has raised $8.6 million and has $4 million in the bank, reported by Federal Election Commission reports.
By Thomas Barr