U.S. Senate candidates in N.J. not pushing for striking Syria

 Candidates for U.S Senate in New Jersey Newark Mayor Cory Booker (left) and Republican Steve Lonegan (NewsWorks Photo)

Candidates for U.S Senate in New Jersey Newark Mayor Cory Booker (left) and Republican Steve Lonegan (NewsWorks Photo)

The use of chemical weapons in Syria has many lawmakers taking sides about whether the U.S. should act. The candidates for U.S Senate in New Jersey are far from clamoring for military action.

Republican Steve Lonegan says he opposes using military force in Syria.  He says airstrikes would likely draw America into a costly and deadly war.  While he is disgusted by the use of chemical weapons, Lonegan is uring President Obama to search for non-military solutions.

Speaking at an event in Collingswood Friday, Lonegan’s opponent, Newark Mayor Cory Booker said military action in Syria should be a last resort.

“My default position will always be peace,” said Booker. “My default position will always be against violence so it’s a high bar for me and it would have to meet my standards. Everything should be explored before we get into a  situation like that.”

Booker said the situation in Syria is complicated, with no unified opposition force and a mix of people involved in terrorism as well as those promoting democracy.

“You have Assad obviously engaging in what should be abhorrent to all Americans. We have Assad partnering with Iran – the biggest state sponsor of terrorism – we have them with Hezbollah. But we also know the opposition is not a unified opposition force and there’s people involved in terrorism themselves as well as pro-democratic people.”

Booker is not ruling out military strikes on Syria but said because he is not a senator, he’s not privy to all of the confidential information that’s being shared in Washington.

Sen. Bob Menendez (D-New Jersey), who serves as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said earlier this week that Syria might use chemical weapons again if the U.S. doesn’t respond forcefully.

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.