Voters to decide Senate special election in New Jersey

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October 15, 2013

New Jersey

By Jennifer Springer

Trenton, New Jersey: Newark Mayor Cory Booker (D) and former Mayor of Bogota Steve Lonegan (R) will face off tomorrow in the special election to succeed the late Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D).[1][2]

In June, Gov. Chris Christie chose to appoint Attorney General Jeff Chiesa to fill the vacant seat. Chiesa, who has not expressed interest in becoming a career senator, will serve in the Senate until after the special election.[3]

Gov. Chris Christie announced in July 2013 that counties will be reimbursed for the additional costs of holding the special elections in 2013.[4][5] The Office of Legislative Services estimated the cost for renting polling places, transporting voting machines, printing and mailing ballots and hiring additional staff would be close to $24 million.[6]

Other candidates running include Independent candidates Robert Depasquale, Eugene Martin Lavergne, Stuart David Meissner, Pablo Olivera, Antonio Sabas and Edward Stackhouse, Jr..[7]

As of October 4, 2013, Booker outraised Lonegan 8-to-1 during the campaign, pulling in $11.2 million to Lonegan’s $1.35 million.[8] Booker also consistently led in the polls.

The winner of tomorrow's general election will serve the remainder of Lautenberg’s term that expires in January 2015.[3]. The winner will then face voters again in 2014 for a full six-year term.[2][3]

Democrats are heavily favored to retain the seat, as New Jersey has not elected a Republican to the U.S. Senate in 40 years.[9][10] A win for Booker in the special election would make him the country’s only elected black senator currently serving and would shift the balance of power in the Senate to a 55-45 advantage for Democrats, meaning Republicans would need to win six seats in next year’s midterm elections to gain control of the Senate.[1]

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