Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
October 20, 2014

Cory Booker Airs Negative Shutdown Ad Against GOP Rival

Newark Mayor Cory Booker is going on the air with a new television ad that attacks his GOP rival on the government shutdown — just two weeks out from the special election for Senate in New Jersey.

The first few seconds of the spot feature typical Democratic attacks against Republican rivals: tying opponent Steve Lonegan to Social Security and Medicare privatization, saying he supports an abortion ban and labeling him as “too extreme.”

But the advertisement also includes a new, timely line of criticism: Lonegan would “shut down government.”

A recent poll showed Booker’s margin over Lonegan had decreased to 12 points, but Booker is expected to win the race.

The Democratic nominee’s spot will hit the airwaves on Wednesday and run through the special election on Oct. 16, according to a Booker source.

Two GOP sources who track media buys confirmed to CQ Roll Call that the cable buy is worth about $337,000. That’s a relatively inexpensive buy in the pricey New Jersey media markets. One of the sources noted Booker’s campaign distributed the buy by putting $216,000 in the Philadelphia market and about $121,000 in the New York City market.

Message and Media, a New Jersey-based firm, produced the ad, according to a Booker news release.

A spokesman for Booker’s campaign, Kevin Griffiths, characterized the strategy shift as a different tactic for a different kind of election

“I think in the primary we ran against a number of people who were well-known members of Congress, whose records were well-known and there was obviously quite a bit of agreement between everyone, and so the ads that you saw essentially laid out the choice in that election,” Griffiths said in a phone call with CQ Roll Call. “This is a different campaign, a different election.”

This race is rated Safe Democrat by Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call. This is a race to replace the late Democratic Sen. Frank R. Lautenberg.

Emily Cahn contributed to this report. 

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