United States Senate special election in New Jersey, 2013

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New Jersey held a special election for the U.S. Senate in 2013. The general election was held on October 16, 2013, which followed a primary election on August 13, 2013.[1]

The special election was held to fill the vacancy left by the death of Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D) on June 3, 2013.[2] His seat was filled with a temporary replacement appointed by Governor Chris Christie until the special election elects a permanent successor.[3]

Christie announced at a press conference on June 4, 2013, that he had opted against appointing a successor to Lautenberg to serve until the 2014 election, and instead announced the special election.[4] Christie also said he would appoint an interim Senator to serve between June and November. On June 6, 2013, Christie announced New Jersey Attorney General Jeff Chiesa would serve as the interim Senator.[5][4][6]

New Jersey has a mixed primary system -- registered Democrats and Republicans can only vote in their own party's primary, but previously unaffiliated voters may declare a party at the polls. Independent voters may also vote in either party's primary. The registration deadline for voting in the primary was July 23, 2013, 21 days before the primary.[7]

Turnout in the primary election was low, with about 9% of the state's registered voters actually casting a ballot.[8] Only the 2006 U.S. Senate primary had lower turnout, with approximately 8%.[8] Low-turnout was predicted, with around 1.2 million voters — less than half the New Jersey electorate in 2012, expected to vote in the primary elections.[9]

Democrats were heavily favored to retain the seat as New Jersey had not elected a Republican to the U.S. Senate in 40 years.[10]

Candidate Filing Deadline Primary Election General Election
June 10, 2013[11]
August 13, 2013
October 16, 2013

Candidates

General Election Candidates

Democratic Party Cory Booker[12]Approveda
Republican Party Steve Lonegan
Independent Robert Depasquale
Independent Eugene Martin Lavergne
Independent Stuart David Meissner
Independent Pablo Olivera
Independent Antonio Sabas
Independent Edward Stackhouse, Jr.

Democratic primary

Republican primary

Declined to run

Election results

General election

U.S. Senate, New Jersey Special General Election, 2013
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngCory Booker 54.9% 740,742
     Republican Steve Lonegan 44% 593,684
     Independent Edward C. Stackhouse 0.4% 5,138
     Independent Robert DePasquale 0.2% 3,137
     Independent Stuart Meissner 0.2% 2,051
     Independent Pablo Olivera 0.1% 1,530
     Independent Antonio Sabas 0.1% 1,336
     Independent Eugene LaVergne 0.1% 1,041
Total Votes 1,348,659
Source: Official results via New Jersey Division of Elections[25]

Primary Elections

Democratic Primary

U.S. Senate, New Jersey Special Democratic Primary, 2013
Candidate Vote % Votes
Green check mark transparent.pngCory Booker 59.2% 216,936
Frank Pallone 19.8% 72,584
Rush Holt 16.8% 61,463
Sheila Oliver 4.3% 15,656
Total Votes 366,639
Source: Official Election Results from New Jersey Division of Elections[26]

Republican Primary

U.S. Senate, New Jersey Special Republican Primary, 2013
Candidate Vote % Votes
Green check mark transparent.pngSteve Lonegan 80.1% 103,280
Alieta Eck 19.9% 25,669
Total Votes 128,949
Source: Official Election Results from New Jersey Division of Elections[27]
[edit]

Race background

Christie's decision to call a special election was challenged in the state's Supreme Court.[28]

Challenges to the special election have argued the law required Christie to designate the special Senate election to be held the same time as his own gubernatorial election three weeks later, rather than October 16, 2013.[29] By holding it on October 16 challengers argued that voters would have been confused and would wind up staying away from the polls, creating disenfranchisement.[29]

The appellate division of the state Superior Court ruled against the plaintiffs and held that Gov. Chris Christie acted properly when he decided to hold a special election on October 16.[30] The court cited NJSA 19:27-6, which provided that if a vacancy occurs in the U.S. Senate the election shall take place at the general election next succeeding unless the vacancy occurs within 70 days next preceding the primary election prior to the general election.[30]

"Without question, the Governor was authorized to call a special election in this circumstance, where the vacancy occurred one day prior to the primary," the court's decision said.[30] The court held that there was no evidence a separate election would generate voter confusion.[29] Opponents attempted to seek an appeal of the decision,[29] but on June 20, 2013 the state Supreme Court denied a request to hear the appeal.[31]

When asked whether he planned to endorse Steve Lonegan (R) in the Senate race, Gov. Christie responded by saying, “I’ve got my own campaign to run, first off. And so to the extent that I can be helpful to the Republican nominee, whoever that turns out to be, I’m sure that I’ll find some time to be helpful, but I have my own campaign to run at the same time and so my focus will be on my campaign.”[32]

Headed into the primary, Democratic front-runner Cory Booker drew criticism from his opponents for his failure to appear at campaign forums with them.[33] At least twice, the other three Democrats that ran in the primary debated without him — including one occasion when he chose to appear at a fundraiser with Oprah Winfrey rather than attend a campaign forum sponsored by the NAACP.[33] Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver (D) declared that she did not have a sense of “entitlement” to contrast herself with Booker. Rep. Rush Holt has complained that the media is paying too much attention to Booker and Rep. Frank Lautenberg has denounced Booker for missing forums.[33] Republican candidate Alieta Eck has described Booker as mayor of “the Detroit of New Jersey,” a reference to a city that struggles with poverty and crime and Steve Lonegan has put out news releases and held news conferences — including one outside Booker’s campaign headquarters to criticize Booker’s stances.[33]

The criticism came after a June campaign stop in which Booker promised not to run negative ads in the primary, and said, “The three opponents I have are all good Democrats. They’re really good leaders.”[33]

Gov. Christie agrees to reimburse counties

Gov. Chris Christie announced in July 2013 that counties will be reimbursed for the additional costs of holding two special elections to fill a Senate seat in New Jersey in 2013.[34][35]

The Office of Legislative Services estimated the cost for renting polling places, transporting voting machines, printing and mailing ballots and hiring additional staff to be close to $24 million.[36] At a news conference, Christie said he was still not sure the actual costs to each county.[36]

“As soon as they send in their bills, we'll audit them, look at their books to make sure no one is trying to play games with us and get something for nothing,” Christie said.[36]

The Division of Elections expected to reimburse counties before December 31, 2013.[36]

Polls

General election

Special election general election match-up
Poll Cory Booker Steve LoneganUndecidedMargin of ErrorSample Size
Conservative Intel
October 13-14, 2013
52%41%5%+/-3.5778
Quinnipiac University
October 10-14, 2013
53%41%6%+/-2.41,696
Rutgers-Eagleton
October 7-13, 2013
58%36%3%+/-4.3513
Monmouth University
October 10-12, 2013
52%42%6%+/-2.61,393
Rasmussen Reports
October 7, 2013
53%41%5%+/-31,000
Stockton Polling Institute
October 3-8, 2013
50%39%11%+/-3.6729
Quinnipiac University
October 5-7, 2013
53%41%6%+/-3.3899
Fairleigh Dickinson University's PublicMind
September 30-October 5, 2013
45%29%26%+/-3.7702
Monmouth University
September 26-29, 2013
53%40%7%+/-4.1571
AVERAGES 52.11% 38.89% 8.33% +/-3.39 920.11
Note: The polls above may not reflect all polls that have been conducted. Those displayed are a random sampling chosen by Ballotpedia staff. If you would like to nominate another poll for inclusion in the table, send an email to editor@ballotpedia.org
Special election general election match-up
Poll Cory Booker Steve LoneganUndecidedMargin of ErrorSample Size
Quinnipiac University
September 19-22, 2013
53%41%6%+/-3.2948
Richard Stockton College
September 15-21, 2013
58%32%8%+/-3.4812
Rutgers-Eagleton
September 3-9, 2013
64%29%7%+/-3.4433
Fairleigh Dickinson University’s PublicMind
August 21-27, 2013
50%22%27%+/-3.7700
Monmouth University/Asbury Park Press
August 15-18, 2013
54%38%8%+/-3.7696
Quinnipiac University
August 1-5, 2013
54%29%17%+/-2.22,042
Quinnipiac University
July 2-7, 2013
53%30%13%+/-31,068
Rasmussen Reports
June 12-13, 2013
50%33%17%+/-31,000
Monmouth University
June 10-11, 2013
53%37%10%+/-3.9636
Quinnipiac University
June 7-9, 2013
54%27%19%+/-3.4858
AVERAGES 54.3% 31.8% 13.2% +/-3.29 919.3
Note: The polls above may not reflect all polls that have been conducted. Those displayed are a random sampling chosen by Ballotpedia staff. If you would like to nominate another poll for inclusion in the table, send an email to editor@ballotpedia.org

Democratic primary

Special election Democratic primary candidates
Poll Cory Booker Rush HoltFrank PalloneSheila OliverUndecidedMargin of ErrorSample Size
Quinnipiac University
August 1-5, 2013
54%15%17%5%9%+/-2.22,042
Monmouth University
July 11-14, 2013
49%8%12%3%28%+/-4.9403
Quinnipiac University
July 2-7, 2013
52%8%10%3%26%+/-31,068
Kean University
June 18, 2013
49%9%6%9%22%+/-31,000
Rasmussen Reports
June 12-13, 2013
54%11%8%5%18%+/-31,000
Monmouth University
June 10-11, 2013
63%10%8%6%13%+/-3.9636
Rutgers-Eagleton
June 3-9, 2013
55%9%8%0%28%+/-3.3888
Quinnipiac University
June 7-9, 2013
53%10%9%0%23%+/-3.4858
AVERAGES 53.63% 10% 9.75% 3.88% 20.88% +/-3.34 986.88
Note: The polls above may not reflect all polls that have been conducted. Those displayed are a random sampling chosen by Ballotpedia staff. If you would like to nominate another poll for inclusion in the table, send an email to editor@ballotpedia.org

Note: The Quinnipiac University poll from June 7-9 and Rutgers-Eagleton poll from June 3-9 were concluded prior to the filing deadline for candidates.


Republican primary

Special election Republican primary candidates
Poll Steve Lonegan Alieta EckUndecidedMargin of ErrorSample Size
Quinnipiac University
August 1-5, 2013
74%10%13%+/-2.22,042
Note: The polls above may not reflect all polls that have been conducted. Those displayed are a random sampling chosen by Ballotpedia staff. If you would like to nominate another poll for inclusion in the table, send an email to editor@ballotpedia.org

Media

General election


"A Senator to Get Things Done."

American Commitment Action Fund's October 2013 ad, "#BookerFAIL: A Record of Failure."

American Commitment Action Fund released a $130,000 buy ad on October 9, 2013, that responded to Bloomberg’s ad. The ad said money Booker secured from Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg did not go to Newark school classrooms and the schools were still failing.[37]

New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg's super PAC, Independence USA, announced on October 6, 2013, that it spent $1 million to air an ad in support of Booker.[38]

Democratic primary

Rep. Rush Holt released his first video of the campaign on June 19, 2013, in which he started the video by admitting that he is no Cory Booker.[39] “I’ll be the first to admit, I’m no Cory Booker. I don’t have a million Twitter followers, I’ve never run into a burning building, and I’m not friends with Mark Zuckerberg, though I did like him on Facebook.”[40][39] Many believed that the video was a smart move for Holt, who many believed had no chance of competing with Booker’s massive online following, the millions of dollars he raised and the celebrity status he attained.[39] As the video made clear, Holt was not going to try. Instead, he embraced the role of quirky underdog in his primary bid for Senate seat.[39]


Holt released an introductory campaign video on June 19, 2013, in which he made clear that he is not Cory Booker, the Democratic frontrunner in the special election.

Cory Booker released his first ad of his Senate campaign on June 26, 2013, "Run"

Democratic frontrunner Cory Booker launched his first TV ad as a Senate candidate, which played up his accomplishments as mayor of Newark.[13] The ad, "Run," began on June 26, 2013, and featured the mayor speaking directly to camera, where he argued that he made progress on issues like guns, education and business. “I’ve proven that by bringing people together even with big problems, we can make big progress and improve people’s lives,” Booker said in the ad.[13] The ad was part of a reported $400,000-plus ad buy.[13]

Booker's second ad, released July 9, 2013, repeated much of his first ad, and highlighted his record as mayor of Newark.[41]

In his third television ad, Booker focused on Social Security, and the ad featured him addressing a series of issues including equal pay, a higher minimum wage and ending child poverty to promote equality.[42]

“No matter what your background, race, culture, gay or straight, North Jersey or South Jersey, rich or poor, are lives are interconnected. We cannot have politics that divide instead of bringing us together,” Booker said[42]

Booker's insistence that he would stand up for Social Security followed Oliver's accusations that he was not answering her questions on the issue. Oliver, who lagged in the polls, attacked Booker for taking to Twitter to answer questions about the movie "Snarknado," yet failing to respond to her.[42]


Frank Pallone released his first ad of his Senate campaign on July 21, 2013, "You can Count on Frank"

Cory Booker released his third ad of his Senate campaign on July 21, 2013, "People"

On July 21, 2013, Frank Pallone, who unveiled a series of online videos, stuck with his theme of being an average New Jersey resident in his first ad of the campaign.[42] It featured shots of Pallone campaigning in New Jersey, interspersed with clips of supporters that touted Pallone's work.[43]

"The son of a cop, Frank Pallone knows working New Jersey," a narrator says, adding that the "middle-class father of three…gets things done."[43] The ad credited Pallone with steering the health care overhaul through Congress and preventing the Tea Party from dismantling Social Security.[43]

In the final week leading up to the Democratic primary, Rush Holt launched a $350,000 ad buy.[44] The buy started on August 6 in the New York City media market, one of the two major ones that stretch into New Jersey, and the Philadelphia cable market. It ran until the day of the primary, August 13.[44]

As part of the ad buy, Holt launched an ad blasting Newark Mayor Cory Booker as “no progressive.”.[45] The ad listed Holt's experience as a scientist and teacher and featured him in a chemistry classroom, talking about policy proposals he said Booker opposed, including a carbon tax, breaking up big banks and banning government surveillance programs.[46]


Rush Holt's August 12, 2013, appearance on The Colbert Report's, "Know a District" segment.

Rush Holt's ad released in the final week prior to the Democratic primary, "Rush Holt for Senate"

"I approved this message because Cory Booker may be the frontrunner in this race, but he's no progressive," he said at the end.[46]

Hoping to benefit from the "Colbert bump," Rep. Rush Holt appeared on Comedy Central's, "The Colbert Report" the day before the U.S. Senate primary, as part of the show's 435-part series "Better Know a District."[47][48]

"Why do you want to be a Senator, though?" Colbert asked. "After years of being in a do-nothing Congress, do you want to join a do-nothing Senate?"[49] Holt replied, "I want to make it a do-something Senate."[49]

Colbert jokingly chided Holt over his opponent, Cory Booker, who, if elected, would become the first African-American U.S. Senator from New Jersey.[49] "Tell the people of New Jersey right now why you think that's a bad idea to elect the first black Senator from New Jersey," Colbert asked.[49]

Holt downplayed the historical significance of a Booker victory. “You know, race is something that is losing its meaning, when you realize that most people in America are of mixed heritage,” Holt said.[49]

Campaign donors

October 2013

As of October 4, 2013, Booker outraised Lonegan 8-to-1, collecting $11.2 million to Lonegan’s $1.35 million.[50]

July 2013

Cory Booker (D) announced on July 11, 2013, that he raised $4.6 million in the prior three months for his U.S. Senate campaign, a major showing of financial strength.[51] Booker’s fundraising total for 2013, as of July 11, was $6.5 million. He ended the quarter with $4.5 million in cash on hand. In July 2013 Booker started airing cable ads in the New York and Philadelphia markets, both of which were among the most expensive in the country.[51]

Booker announced on July 16, 2013 that he would be making a campaign fundraising stop in Washington D.C. on July 18, 2013 with five events in one day.[52] The effort is expected to be his only trip to Washington, D.C., before the August 13th primary.[52]

Four of the fundraisers are being hosted by Democratic K Streeters and supporters are asked to contribute between $1,000 per person to more than $10,000 to co-host an evening reception.[52] The fundraising event is a major contrast to the D.C. Society of Young Professionals fundraiser in April 2013 for Booker before he announced his Senate bid. That event was at hipster bar Jack Rose Dining Saloon and asked for just $40 for those under 35 and $100 for general admission.[52]

Federal Election Commission closed

The Federal Election Commission was another federal entity forced to shut down all operations.[53] All of the more than 300 agency employees are furloughed, with only four of the six serving commissioners remaining on the job.[54] No new campaign finance data, PAC registrations or candidate paperwork will be processed and posted online by the agency until the shutdown ends.[53]

Data for the October 4, 2013, filing deadline for the pre-election filing reports for the race between Booker and Lonegan is not likely to be available until after the shutdown ends.[53]

Outside spending

The conservative outside group American Commitment announced on July 22, 2013, the launch of a new Super PAC, American Commitment Action Fund, and launched a $100,000 online ad buy against Cory Booker.[55] The ad features clips from Booker’s own ads and criticizes him for his record as mayor.[55] The ad will be featured on a new Web site, BookerFail.com, beginning July 23, 2013.[55]

American Commitment, the super PAC’s nonprofit arm, was created in 2012 and spent about $6 million on the 2012 election. Phil Kerpen, head of both arms and a former aide at Americans for Prosperity, released a statement saying, “AC Action Fund is committed to making the necessary investments to defeat liberals for federal office and support free-market conservatives to return our nation to prosperity. Our first project will expose Cory Booker’s proven record of failure and division that is being hidden behind a facade of media and Twitter celebrity. We’re launching this initiative with an initial commitment of $100,000 and anticipate raising and investing significant additional funds.”[55]

A newer Super PAC, the Mobilization Project, made its foray into the race with a canvassing operation that cost nearly $74,000 in support of Booker’s bid.[56] Little is known about the Mobilization Project, which filed its organizational paperwork with the FEC on July 15, 2013. The Super PAC used the former P.O. Box address of the September Fund, a liberal 527 organization founded by Harold Ickes, a political operative with close ties to Bill and Hillary Clinton.[56]

The Pallone campaign repeatedly called on fellow Democrats in the race to agree to a pledge dissuading outside groups from participating in the primary, similar to one introduced in recent Massachusetts Senate elections.[56] None of the candidates have signed on.

“There’s no need to have outside money in this race. Shouldn’t we all stand up and say ‘no’? Let’s have a clean race and set an example,” said Pallone spokesman Jeff Carroll.[56]

Rush Holt spokesman Thomas Seay said the campaign did not accepted Pallone’s call to limit outside group activity because “as written, the text of the pledge is nonsensical.”[56] However, he wrote in an e-mail that “it’s unfortunate outside interest groups are intervening in such an opaque and unaccountable way,” and that Holt would “work to overturn Citizens United and fight for public disclosure of all major political donors” if elected to the Senate.[56]

Campaign finance reports

A preliminary analysis of campaign finance reports released August 9, 2013, by the Center for Responsive Politics indicated the bulk of Booker’s donors were not in New Jersey.[57][58]

Of the early itemized donations of more than $200 to Cory Booker, only 22 percent came from New Jersey.[57] The remaining 78 percent came from New York, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C. Approximately $589,200 came from New York, $209,050 from Los Angeles and $74,400 Washington, D.C.[57]

By contrast, 82 percent of Frank Pallone’s $3.7 million in contributions came from New Jersey donors. Rush Holt brought in $1.5 million, with 93 percent of it from New Jersey.[57] Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver had raised, as of August 2013, $11,690, but a geographic breakdown was not available.[57]

On the Republican side, former Bogota Mayor Steve Lonegan and Piscataway doctor Alieta Eck had raised $323,000 and $29,000, respectively, as of August 2013.[57] Information about where their donations came from was not available.[57]

“Look, Cory Booker has a national persona and national reach. Any of the other three candidates would love to have that,” said Benjamin Dworkin, director of the Rebovich Institute for New Jersey Politics at Rider University in Lawrenceville.[57] Dworkin also said candidates running for statewide office in New Jersey need huge amounts of money because of the state’s unique political geography.[57] There is no central media market and candidates must buy into the expensive New York and Philadelphia TV markets to get airtime.[57]

Part of the reason for Booker’s large out-of-state total is also related to the number of celebrities, billionaires and other A-listers who have lined up to write him checks.[57]

Under a loop-hole in the campaign finance laws, Booker has been able to raise four times the legal limit from those sources.[57] Usually, individuals are limited to giving $2,100 each election. However, Booker is collecting donations now for the four races that he might face: the special election primary, the special election general, and the 2014 primary and general elections.[57]

Booker’s top donors included Netscape founder Marc Andreessen and his wife, Laura Arrillaga-Andreesse, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Wal-Mart billionaire Christy Walton, businesswoman Ivanka Trump and writer-producer Jeffrey Abrams. Each has given Booker the maximum $10,400.[57] Other top donors included Eric Schmidt, executive chairman of Google, producer David Geffen, Motown founder Berry Gordy, actress Jennifer Garner and Hollywood power couple Kate Capshaw-Spielberg and Steven Spielberg.[57]

Endorsements

General election

Cory Booker

Independence USA

New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg's super PAC, Independence USA, announced on October 6, 2013, a $1 million ad buy in support of Booker.[59]

AFL-CIO

The New Jersey State AFL-CIO Executive Board voted unanimously to endorse Cory Booker on August 15, 2013.[60] “Mayor Cory Booker offers a fresh progressive vision for building consensus in Washington while maintaining a staunch commitment to fighting for the core values of our middle class,” said State AFL-CIO President Charles Wowkanech. “Mayor Booker has built a record as a champion for the Newark community, taking on poverty and crime as well as fighting to foster economic growth and provide good jobs and opportunity to working families. The vision Mayor Booker will bring to the U.S. Senate will be one of compromise, compassion, and fighting for the common good.”[60]

President Obama

President Obama endorsed Booker on August 21, 2013, saying if elected he would be “an important partner in our efforts to reduce gun violence, give every American a fair shot in a global economy, and make our country stronger.”[61]

Cory Booker has dedicated his life to the work of building hope and opportunity in communities where too little of either existed. Whether as a college student working in East Palo Alto or as mayor of New Jersey’s largest city, Cory has time and again taken on tough challenges, fought for the middle class and those working to join it, and forged coalitions that create progress – and that’s the spirit he’ll carry with him to Washington,” Obama said in a statement.[61]

Biden appearance

Vice President Joe Biden's planned campaign stop for October 11, 2013, was canceled due the government shutdown.[62]

Ben Affleck and Matt Damon

Ben Affleck, Matt Damon and several other major Hollywood stars hosted a fundraiser for Cory Booker on September 23, 2013.[63] Ron Burkle hosted the event at his house with Matt Damon, with tickets ranging from $1,000 to $10,000. Other co-hosts for the evening affair included Ben Affleck, Jennifer Garner, Jerry Weintraub, JJ Abrams and wife Katie McGrath, Michael Eisner, Troy Carter, WME Co-CEO Patrick Whitesell, talent agency head Bob Gersh, Disney exec Sean Bailey, Netflix's Ted Sarandos and former US Ambassador Nicole Avant.[63]

It was the second big Hollywood fundraiser for Booker, after a star-studded event in April 2013 hosted by Jerry Weintraub, which garnered approximately $500,000 for Booker's run.[63]

Steve Lonegan

Ted Cruz

Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) recorded robocalls on behalf of Lonegan in the final days of the campaign.[64]

Sarah Palin

Just days before the general election, Sarah Palin attended a Tea Party Express rally in New Egypt, New Jersey, on October 12, 2013, with conservative radio host Mark Levin to rally for Lonegan.[65][66]

NRSC and RNC

Steve Lonegan's (R) appearance on "The John Gamble Show" on August 14, 2013.

On August 14, 2013, Republican nominee Steve Lonegan told WOR Radio that he was “expecting really the whole National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) and Republican National Committee (RNC) to be focusing on this race.”[67]

“The entire Republican Party is organized behind my campaign,” Lonegan said on “The John Gamble Show.”[67]

RNC spokeswoman Kirsten Kukowski confirmed that the committee planned to help Lonegan through its Victory program in New Jersey.[67] The Victory program provides resources to Republicans from the top of the ticket down, such as funding for offices, staff and volunteers to garner support for Republican candidates.[67]

Chris Christie

Gov. Chris Christie endorsed Steve Lonegan in the special election on August 20, 2013. In the endorsement he said, "Steve, as usual, ran the type of spirited, principled campaign that he has been known for his entire professional career in the primary,” Christie told a crowd sandwiched into a long room where the air conditioning was not working. “And I am proud to have him as our candidate for the United States Senate.”[68][69] “This will not be the only time Steve Lonegan and I will be together between now and Oct. 16,” Christie said. “The apparatus of the Republican Party is going to be behind Steve Lonegan."[69]

Rand Paul

Rand Paul said on August 21, 2013, that he had met with Steve Lonegan and was planning to help him.[70] “We’re considering trying to help him out,” Paul said. “In all likelihood, we’ll go in and either financially or try to help him through an endorsement or something,” Paul added.[70] [[[Rand Paul|Paul]] joined [Steve Lonegan|Lonegan’s]] campaign on September 13, 2013 for an afternoon “Liberty and Victory Rally.”[71][72]

Rick Perry

On September 18, 2013, Lonegan's campaign announced a campaign event that featured Rick Perry on October 1, 2013. Perry also attended a fundraising event for Lonegan while in New Jersey.[73]

Democratic primary

Cory Booker

Just weeks before leaving office as the interim Senator in Massachusetts, Mo Cowan endorsed Cory Booker on June 4, 2013.[74] Cowan noted that he was just the eighth black American to serve in the Senate, and continued by saying “As I vacate the hallowed halls of Congress, perhaps he’ll come in not too late after me and continue I hope is a very popular trend in the Congress, particular in the Senate, which is to continue to show representation of all people."[74] On June 9, 2013 Booker received the backing of George E. Norcross III, an insurance executive and hospital chairman who is seen as "the most powerful figure in New Jersey Democratic politics" according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.[75]

Two of the most powerful unions in the state, The New Jersey Education Association and the state branch of the Communication Workers Association of America, announced on June 12, 2013, that they planned to withhold endorsements in the August 13th primary election.[76] “We’re unlikely to endorse in the primary. This is a really politically complicated situation for organizations like ours because we have good friends running against each other, so there’s no advantage for us to get involved in this primary,” said NJEA government relations director Ginger Gold.[76]

New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg announced on July 8, 2013, that he planned to host a fundraiser for Cory Booker.[77] The event was held at Bloomberg’s townhouse on July 15, 2013.[77]

The day before the Democratic primary, Desperate Housewives star Eva Longoria lent support for Booker.[78] She joined Booker at campaign rallies in Plainfield and Newark and introduced Booker at the events.[78] Longoria previously was a national co-chair for President Obama's re-election campaign and spoke at the 2012 Democratic National Convention.[78]

Oprah Winfrey also spoke at a fundraiser for Booker in early August 2013.[78]

Other endorsements included:

Rush Holt

  • Mercer County Democratic Committee[86]

Frank Pallone

  • Vin Gopal: Chairman of the Monmouth County Democratic Committee[87]
  • Family members of the late Sen. Frank Lautenberg said on July 8, 2013 that they were backing Rep. Frank Pallone in the August 13 Democratic primary to fill the seat.[88] A statement from the family said, “Frank Pallone knows that gimmicks and celebrity status won’t get you very far in the real battles that Democrats face in the future… While it may not always attract glamorous headlines, Frank knows that to be effective you must put New Jersey and your principles first, not your own glory.”[88]

Republican primary

Steve Lonegan

Endorsements included:[89]

  • Leonard Lance: Rep. from District 7
  • Scott Garrett: Rep. from District 5
  • Rivieri Del Mundo: Middlesex County Committeewoman
  • Carey Pilato: Mayor, Bound Brook Borough
  • Chris Rogers: President, New Jersey Taxpayers' Association
  • Robert Luban: Council Woodbridge Twp
  • John Meeks: President, Midland Park Republican Club
  • Thomas Banca: Councilman, East Rutherford
  • Mark Padula: Atlantic City Republican County Committee Chairman
  • Michael J. Sanchelli: Jefferson Twp Council Vice President
  • John Cesaro: Morris County Freeholder
  • Ann F. Grossi: Morris County Freeholder
  • Matthew C. Moench: Bridgewater Township Council
  • Joseph A. Vicente: Councilman, Rockaway Borough
  • Gregory Newton: Jamesburg Municipal Chairman
  • Richard LoCascio: Mayor, Chesterfield Township
  • Johncito F. Peraza: President, Metro Los Angeles Conservative Club
  • Montclair Republican Club
  • Frank D'Arcio: Committeeman, Woodbridge TWP
  • Edward J. Smith: Warren County Freeholder
  • Michael Patrick Carroll: Assemblyman
  • Adelia Recchia: Republican Committee, Bergen County
  • Robert B. Yudin: Bergen County Chairman
  • Thomas T. Booth, Jr.:Camden County Chairman
  • Thomas J. Mastrangelo: Morris County Freeholder
  • John Krickus: Morris County Freeholder
  • Hank Lyon: Morris County Freeholder
  • Michael Donohue: Cape May County Chairman
  • Robert G. Walton: Hunterdon County Freeholder
  • Patrick Cassio: Rahway Republican Municipal Chairman
  • Louis Fligor: Atlantic Highlands Councilman
  • William Budesheim: Riverdale Mayor
  • John DiMaio: Assemblyman
  • Phil Morin: Union County Republican Chairman
  • Henry Kuhl: Hunterdon County Republican Chairman
  • Dave Scapicchio: Morris County Freeholder
  • Doug Cabana: Morris County Freeholder
  • Danielle DiPaola: Councilwoman - Borough of Emerson
  • Ronald Perry: Area V.P., National Black Republican Council
  • James A. Mathieu: Councilman, Borough of Garwood
  • William Schmidt: Bergen County Prosecutor 1997 - 2002

On August 1, 2013, it was announced that Lonegan met with the Club for Growth and was scheduled to meet with the National Republican Senatorial Committee.[90]

Lonegan said in interviews that he also planned to meet with Rand Paul in an effort to secure an endorsement.[90] He was endorsed by five of the state’s six Republican members of Congress and hoped to secure the backing of remaining Rep. Christopher Smith.[90]

Alieta Eck

Debates

General election

Booker (D) and Lonegan (R) faced off in their first general election debate on October 4, 2013.[93]The one hour debate was aired on WABC-TV.[93]

The two attacked each other's positions on issues ranging from the government shutdown to abortion. Booker and Lonegan also addressed raising the minimum wage, legalizing same-sex marriage, government spying and the need to revamp the post-9/11 Patriot Act.[93]

Cory Booker (D) debated Steve Lonegan (R) at Rowan University on October 9, 2013, one week before the special election to fill New Jersey's vacant U.S. Senate seat.[94]

NBC10 Anchor Jim Rosenfield moderated the debate, along with a panel that included NBC 4 New York anchor David Ushery and Philadelphia Inquirer Washington correspondent Jonathan Tamari.[94]

The debate covered a wide range of issues, including the debt ceiling, abortion and gun crime.[95]

Lonegan focused much of his attack on Newark, calling the city a “big black hole.”[95]

“The taxpayers in the suburbs and rural areas of this state have been ripped off now for 30 years,” said Lonegan. “They gave us a sales tax. They said that was going to cut property taxes. Then they passed an income tax and that was going to cut property taxes. All that income tax and sales tax money gets poured into the big black hole of Newark.”[95]

Booker responded by saying that as mayor of Bogota, Lonegan ran a financially stable city’s budget “into a ditch” and that he, on the other hand, cleaned up a “budget nightmare” in Newark.[95] He cited a report that Lonegan sought financial aid for Bogota from then-Gov. Jon Corzine, which Lonegan has defended as appropriate.[95]

Democratic primary

Rep. Frank Pallone released a statement on June 17, 2013, that called for multiple debates leading up to the August Democratic primary.[96] In the statement he stated that voters should be able to make a decision that is not “based solely on slick TV ads and 20-second sound bites.”[96][97]

In a statement, a Booker campaign spokesman said the mayor planned to evaluate debate invitations and did not commit to accepting Pallone’s proposal.[96]


The first Democratic primary debate, August 5, 2013.

Democratic candidates took part in a debate on August 5, 2013.[98][10][99][100] The debate was surprisingly heavy on foreign policy, with extended segments on strained relations with Russia, trade policy with China, and what to do about the Syrian situation.[98][101]

The lead question, addressed at Holt, was about whether recent terror threat murmurs were changing his mind about the way he views the NSA's surveillance programs. "No," Holt responded, noting that we can "presume these were international intercepts that we should be doing." It's the wholesale collection of personal information of Americans that is "completely unacceptable."

Booker knocked Holt and Pallone for voting for the original Patriot Act, even though "now they're trying to throw the whole thing out."[98]

Booker underwent his most sustained attack near the end, when his alliance with Republican governor Chris Christie on education reform came up. Pallone noted that Booker has been "very supportive of Christie's education plan," meaning "vouchers," "privatization" and other corporate-backed elements to disrupt traditional forms of public education and weaken teachers' unions.[98] Oliver added that the state's involvement in Newark's public school system has "not seen improvement," and vouchers have merely "siphoned" money away from public schools. Holt added that a "massive expansion of charter schools is not the answer."[98]

Booker was able to rebut the criticisms by calling hypocrisy on Pallone and Holt, whom he claimed voted for a similar voucher program for District of Columbia schools.[98]

Overall, the debate was described as a relatively sedate affair without too much friskiness.[98]

Controversy

Challenge to election

On October 16, 2013, five of the Independent candidates running filed a petition with the secretary of the Senate challenging the special election.[102]

The complaint questioned the constitutionality, legality and validity of the election on three main issues, and it sought to have the full Senate vote to label the election result “void.”[102]

The candidates claimed three issues with the election should invalidate it: The use of electronic voting machines with no paper backup that will not be “impounded,” that independent candidates were not included in the two debates and that the Republican candidate appears in the first two spaces on ballots, despite a low turnout during the primary.[102]

The petition also sought to have the Senate vote to keep Jeffrey Chiesa, who was appointed following the death of Frank Lautenberg, in office until the petition is investigated and decided.[102]

Government shutdown

See also: United States budget debate, 2013

Lonegan told reporters in an interview on October 3, 2013, that the inconvenience of a federal government shutdown was worth the trouble if it can derail Obamacare.[103]

"If some people are inconvenienced by the shutdown of the federal government in order to drive this issue, to drive this debate, to stop the implementation of this health care system before it causes more problems, then that's a battle we need to have now. I would be holding the line on it until we can make that happen," Lonegan said.[103]

Lonegan tweet

Republican front-runner Steve Lonegan sent out a racially charged tweet during a Democratic debate prior to the primary.[104]

The tweet, which was quickly deleted, came from the @LoneganforNJ account, which was the campaign staff account for Lonegan.[104] The tweet read, “#breaking just leaked - Cory Booker’s foreign policy debate prep notes,” and below it was a map of heavily African-American Newark. Scrawled over the map in different places was, “West Africa, Guyana, Portugal, Brazil.” Another annotation, pointing to Newark, read, “Middle East,” followed by “Afghanistan, Pakistan, plus Bangladesh and Trinidad.”[104]

Lonegan adviser Rick Shaftan said, “Steve didn’t find it funny or reflective of the way he thinks and asked that it be taken down immediately. And, as you know, it was.[104]

Gov. Chris Christie responded to the tweet. He called it “inflammatory” and “inappropriate.”[105] “His actions in taking it down was undercut by his later defense,” Christie reportedly said.[105]

The governor added that had it been him, he would have fired whoever was responsible for the controversial tweet. “Steve never backs away from something, no matter how controversial,” Christie said. “My perspective, I would fire the guy who did it. Putting that tweet up shows a complete lack of judgment. Steve’s decision has been to work with that person. That’s his call.”[105]

Speculation about Booker's sexual preference

Speculation about Booker's sexuality — specifically, that he is gay but keeping that a secret — took center stage in the Senate campaign in late August 2013.[106] In a series of interviews with national media outlets, Booker and Lonegan both commented about an issue that has trailed Booker, who is single, since he first ran for office in Newark.[106]

Booker generally does not answer when asked about his sexuality, but in interviews has referred to former girlfriends and dating women. In a July 22, 2013 interview he noted he is "a voice for marriage equality that had me the national speaker in Washington, as a straight male, the national speaker for the Human Rights Campaign."[106]

He has also talked about his "great dismay" that he has not "settled down with a life partner." He said he has been dating more at the encouragement of a pastor friend but tries to keep that part of his life private.[106] "Because how unfair is it to a young lady to put them in the spotlight if they haven't signed up for that yet?" Booker said. "And people who think I'm gay, some part of me thinks it's wonderful. Because I want to challenge people on their homophobia. I love seeing on Twitter when someone says I'm gay, and I say, 'So what does it matter if I am? So be it. I hope you are not voting for me because you are making the presumption that I'm straight.'"[106]

In an interview, Lonegan called Booker's remarks "kind of weird." He also said he did not know whether Booker was gay. "It's kind of weird. As a guy, I personally like being a guy. I don't know if you saw the stories last year. They've been out for quite a bit about how he likes to go out at 3 o'clock in the morning for a manicure and a pedicure," Lonegan said.[106]

Lonegan referred to an interview Booker did in the summer of 2012 with a newly launched magazine, Du Jour, in which he talked about getting manicures and pedicures. Lonegan said his team looked but was unable to locate such a business in Newark that is open 24 hours a day.[106]

"Maybe that helps to get him the gay vote, by acting ambiguous. That I can't address. All I know is I don't like going out in the middle of the night, or any time of the day, for a manicure and pedicure. It was described as his peculiar fetish, is how it was described. I have a more peculiar fetish. I like a good Scotch and a cigar. That's my fetish, but we'll just compare the two," Lonegan said.[106]

In response, Booker called Lonegan's comments "unacceptable."[106]

"That's just sad. Honestly, that's just really sad. It's just disheartening to hear somebody, in this day and age in the United States of America, say, basically implicate, that gay men are not men, that they're not guys. It's shocking to one's conscience. That kind of callous, bigoted disrespect to gays and lesbians shouldn't be tolerated," Booker said.[106]

District history

Candidate Ballot Access
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2012

See also: United States Senate elections in New Jersey, 2012

Bob Menendez won re-election in 2012.[107] He was unopposed in the June 5 Democratic primary and defeated Joe Kyrillos (R) and Jeff Boss (I) in the November general election.

U.S. Senate, New Jersey, General Election, 2012
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngRobert Menendez Incumbent 58.9% 1,987,680
     Republican Joe Kyrillos 39.4% 1,329,534
     Libertarian Kenneth R. Kaplan 0.5% 16,803
     Green Ken Wolski 0.5% 15,801
     Jersey Strong Independents Gwen Diakos 0.3% 9,359
     Totally Independent Candidate J. David Dranikoff 0.1% 3,834
     America First Inder "Andy" Soni 0.1% 3,593
     Responsibility Fairness Integrity Robert "Turk" Turkavage 0.1% 3,532
     Socialist Party USA Gregory Pason 0.1% 2,249
     No Slogan Eugene Martin Lavergne 0.1% 2,198
     Reform Nation Daryl Mikell Brooks 0.1% 2,066
Total Votes 3,376,649
Source: New Jersey Secretary of State "Official Election Results, 2012 General Election"


2008

On November 4, 2008, Lautenberg was re-elected to the United States Senate for a fourth non-consecutive term. He defeated Dick Zimmer (R), Jason Scheurer (Libertarian), J.M. Carter (God We Trust), Daryl Mikell Brooks (Poor People’s Campaign), Sara Lobman (Socialist Workers) and Jeffrey Boss (Boss for Senate).[108]

United States Senate, New Jersey General Election, 2008
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngFrank Lautenberg Incumbent 56% 1,951,218
     Republican Dick Zimmer 42% 1,461,025
     Libertarian Jason Scheurer 0.5% 18,810
     God We Trust J.M. Carter 0.5% 15,935
     Poor People’s Campaign Daryl Mikell Brooks 0.5% 15,925
     Socialist Workers Sara Lobman 0.3% 10,345
     Boss for Senate Jeffrey Boss 0.3% 9,187
Total Votes 3,482,445

See also

External links

References

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