Election watch: Primary election underway for a U.S. Senate seat in New Jersey

Polling locations will be open 6:00 a.m. until 8:00 p.m. 


posted 7:37 p.m.

Booker campaign planning big event

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by Katie Colaneri

A large stage (photos in slideshow) is set up at the Cory Booker camp in downtown Newark. The stage, draped with an American flag, is flanked by the Prudential Center – home to the New Jersey Devils hockey team – and a restaurant and condo project spearheaded by the Booker administration. Local streets are closed off and there’s a buzz of activity with police controlling traffic and volunteers returning from canvassing the streets.


posted 6:56 p.m.

Are the Republicans trying to lose?

Former New Jersey Senator Robert Toricelli said the Republicans are missing the best opportunity to win a Senate seat.

Speaking tonight on NJ Today with Mike Schneider, Toricelli eluded that the Republican Party didn’t offer voters their strongest candidates because, as he put it, “They are assuming they can’t (win).’

Interviewer Mike Schneider then asked “If I read you correctly you’re saying Republicans could have put up a stronger candidate?”

Toricelli said “If I had been (Joe) Kyrillos or Tom Kean Jr. I would have run in this race.”

Toricelli, a Democrat, said the the state is bluer (more Democrats) now but that a special election like this distorts the voter turnout model. “When people have voted in August, you already set in fatigue. You are asking them to come out again in another month. Knowing that there is a General Election in November. It will distort the profile of who is voting. I believe the Republicans have made an enormous mistake.



Posted 5:33 p.m.

The true believers

A steady flow of dedicated voters showed up this afternoon at the Lawrenceville fire station just off Route 206. About every two minutes another car would pull up with someone determined to cast their vote.

Terry Del Casale said he was debating whether to bother to come out. “I wasn’t sure I was going to vote today. But I decided there is a light turnout, I’m very close, I live right up the street, so there is no excuse,” he said.

Today is a primary election. Both the state Democrat and Republican parties are chosing one candidate each to represent them in the a special Oct 16 election.

Democrats will choose from:

Cory BookerRush HoltSheila OliverFrank Pallone

Republicans will chose from:

Alieta EckSteve Lonegan

This special election to fill the final year of the late Senator Frank Lautenberg’s seat was called for by Governor Chris Christie. Many people have criticized him for creating a special election when it could have been folded into the regular General Election on November 5.

Blanche Brand said she resented having to come out for this special election. “This was a complete waste of money and it is only because Chris Christie (a Republican) didn’t want a solid D column running against him. Christie is running for re-election and faces Democrat Barbara Buono in November.”


Posted 11:02 a.m.

Low turnout expected

Low turnout was expected Tuesday as New Jersey voters decide which candidates will run to fill the seat of the late U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg, who died in June.

Democrat Cory Booker and Republican Steve Lonegan are expected to easily win their party primaries. Barring an upset, the two will square off in an Oct. 16 special election, with the winner headed to Washington for the remaining 15 months of Lautenberg’s term.

Turnout is expected to be exceptionally low in this unprecedented mid-August election, with many voters on vacation and heavy rain falling.

Turnout seemed on the mind of Booker as he voted blocks from his home Tuesday morning. “This is New Jersey. You’ve got to earn every single vote you get, and so polls don’t vote, people do,” said the 44-year-old, who is serving his second term as mayor of Newark, the state’s largest city. He is better known and has raised more money than three challengers, all of whom are experienced politicians but not well-known outside the areas they represent. Polls show Booker far outpacing U.S. Reps. Frank Pallone and Rush Holt and Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver.

The final days of the campaign had Booker touring the state by bus. Actress Eva Longoria was among those campaigning with him; earlier, Oprah Winfrey held a private fundraiser for him in Jersey City.

Lonegan, 57, voted with his wife Tuesday morning in the Bergen County municipality of Bogota, where he once served as mayor and until recently was the state director of the anti-tax group Americans for Prosperity. He ran unsuccessfully for governor twice and for Congress once and has a built-in donor network from the conservative group.

His only opponent is a political neophyte, Franklin Township physician Alieta Eck, who has never held or campaigned for elected office.

Gov. Chris Christie set the dates for the special election after Lautenberg died at age 89. Lautenberg had been a reliably liberal vote in the Senate and was its oldest member.

Pallone was endorsed by Lautenberg’s family as the candidate best able to carry on the senator’s legacy as an advocate for mass transportation and the environment. Holt was endorsed by the National Organization for Women, though it was Oliver who staked her campaign on her gender. She said New Jersey needs at least one female representative in Washington.

The state’s two senators and 12 representatives are all men.


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