Booker and Lonegan defeat challengers in New Jersey special election

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August 13, 2013

New Jersey

By Jennifer Springer

Trenton, New Jersey: Newark Mayor Cory Booker (D) and former Bogota Mayor Steve Lonegan (R) won their respective parties' nominations in the special election primaries to succeed the late Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D).[1][2]

Booker defeated three challengers-Rep. Rush Holt, State Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver and Rep. Frank Pallone- to win the Democratic nomination.[1] Lonegan defeated political newcomer and physician Alieta Eck for the Republican nomination.[3][2][1][4]

Cory Booker (D) and Steve Lonegan (R) dominated polls leading up to the primary, and both were widely expected to win their parties' nominations.[5] Their opponents hoped that the unusual Election Day could provide one final wild card and limit the advantages of the better-known favorites.[5]

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 the special election is held in October.[6]

Gov. Chris Christie announced in July 2013 that counties will be reimbursed for the additional costs of holding the special elections in 2013.[7][8] 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.[9]

The general election takes place on October 16, 2013.[6] Whoever wins in the general election will serve out the remainder of Lautenberg’s term that expires in January 2015.[6]. The winner will then face voters again in 2014 for a full six-year term.[4]

Democrats are heavily favored to retain the seat, as New Jersey has not elected a Republican to the U.S. Senate in 40 years.[10][3] A win for Booker in the special election would make him the country’s only elected black senator 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.[2]


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[11]
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[12]

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