Updated: Newark Mayor Cory Booker won the Democratic nomination in New Jersey’s special primary election by a landslide tonight, putting him one step closer to a seat in the U.S. Senate.
Booker beat out three other Democratic competitors in the contest to succeed the late Sen. Frank Lautenberg, defeating Reps. Frank Pallone and Rush Holt as well as Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver. With most precincts reporting late Tuesday, Booker had a 40 point lead over the runner up, Pallone.
In his victory speech tonight, Booker thanked and praised his Democratic opponents, and said he planned to bring a new style of politics to Washington.
“They say we are being naïve, to them I say have you ever met us, do you know where I’ve been working for the last seven years. This is Newark, New Jersey, and we don’t do naïve,” he said.
Now, the popular celebrity mayor faces a special general election in just over two months, when he will face Republican Steve Lonegan.
The former Bogota, N.J., mayor and conservative activist won the GOP nomination over physician and first time candidate Alieta Eck. Lonegan, who is legally blind, unsuccessfully challenged Chris Christie in the 2009 Republican gubernatorial primary.
In a state mostly dominated by Democratic office holders, Booker will be a heavy favorite to win the Oct. 16 special general election.
During his victory speech he promised to fight for issues like child poverty, women’s health and marriage equality.
“If you want someone in Washington that plays by the same old rules, you should find someone else,” Booker said.
The most recent Quinnipiac University poll released last week showed Booker topping Lonegan by 25 points in a general election matchup.
Regarding his opponent, Booker promised a clean fight, on his part, saying, “I will match his negative attacks with positive vision.”
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