In an outcome many expected, Newark Mayor Cory Booker effectively trounced his competition in a special primary on Tuesday that moves him one step closer to the U.S. Senate.
Booker garnered nearly 60 percent of the votes, thrashing the three other Democratic senate hopefuls, including Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver. By some accounts, the election was over before it started, as the Brick City mayor led by a wide margin in various state polls and surveys leading up to the primary. Additionally, less than an hour after the polls closed at 8 p.m., it became apparent that Booker was way ahead. Some of the candidates conceded defeat, and Booker was declared the winner.
The special election was held in order to replace the vacant Senate seat of the late Frank Lautenberg. The longtime New Jersey politico passed away earlier this year, with 15 months still remaining in his term. Booker will face long shot Republican hopeful Steve Lonegan in another special general primary in October. Lonegan is the former mayor of Bogota and received the endorsement of Gov. Chris Christie. It’s been more than 40 years since a Republican senator has represented New Jersey.
During his victory speech at campaign headquarters in Newark on Tuesday evening, Booker highlighted some of his accomplishments as a two-term mayor of the Brick City and vowed to continue his stellar track record in Washington for the betterment of Newark. “We still have a lot of work to do,” he said. “As your state senator, I will continue to work hard for the people of New Jersey!”