August 14, 2013

Booker Wins Primary; Holt Wins Princeton

Democrat Cory Booker and Republican Steve Lonegan will be the candidates for the New Jersey U.S. Senate seat vacated by Frank Lautenberg, who died in June. Mr. Booker and Mr. Lonegan were the winners in the primary held yesterday, and will compete in a special election for the seat on October 16.

But according to unofficial results last night, Princeton voters showed overwhelming support for Congressman Rush Holt, who was among the other Democratic contenders in the primary. Mr. Holt garnered 2,214 votes in Princeton, as compared to Mr. Booker’s 627. State Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver earned 15 Princeton votes, while U.S. Representative Frank Pallone Jr. got 59.

In the Republican race, Mr. Lonegan earned 146 votes from Princeton, while Dr. Alieta Eck got 63.

Newark Mayor Booker, 44, has been in office since 2006. According to his campaign website, his win over Deputy Mayor Ronald Rice was the largest margin ever recorded in a contested Newark election. The charismatic mayor cited his lowering of crime rates, expansion of affordable housing, and lowering of the budget in Newark as qualifications for the job. He has been known to walk the streets of the city at night and live on food stamps for a week in an effort to understand Newark’s problems.

Mr. Booker announced his intention to run for Mr. Lautenberg’s seat last year. His Senate platform including the improvement of public education, the reduction of unemployment, and the passage of gun safety legislation. As of last week, he was leading the race with a projected 54 percent of likely Democratic votes, according to a Quinnipiac University poll.

Mr. Booker served on Newark’s City Council from 1998 until his election as mayor in 2006. He is a graduate of Stanford University, Oxford University, and Yale Law School, and was a Rhodes scholar.

Mr. Lonegan, 57, was the mayor of Bogota, in Bergen County, from 1996 to 2008. Currently, he directs the New Jersey chapter of Americans For Prosperity, a conservative and libertarian organization which advocates for limited government. Mr. Lonegan has emphasized fiscal conservatism, an individual’s right to bear arms, and his pro-life position, among other issues, during his campaign.

A Teaneck native, Mr. Lonegan became legally blind as a result of a degenerative eye disease he contracted as a youth. He graduated from William Paterson College and earned a master’s degree in business from Fairleigh Dickinson University. According to his campaign website, he built and managed retail, custom home-building and manufacturing businesses before becoming mayor of Bogota.

Among his achievements while in office were cuts in municipal spending, elimination of wasteful spending, privatization of some functions and more cost-efficient government, his website says.

Mr. Lonegan ran unsuccessfully for a seat in the House of Representatives in 1998. He has run for the Republican nomination for governor of New Jersey twice, coming in fourth in 2005.