Cory Booker Elected Senator in New Jersey
Posted at 9:37 p.m. on Oct. 16
Booker greets a supporter after casting his own vote in the special election. (John Moore/Getty Images)
Newark Mayor Cory Booker, the Twitter star with a Rolodex of Hollywood contacts, was elected to the Senate on Wednesday following a New Jersey special election campaign that lacked suspense.
After leading in the polls by double digits for the duration, the Democrat handily defeated conservative activist Steve Lonegan. The Associated Press called the race for Booker with 55 percent of precincts reporting, and the mayor ahead 55 percent to 44 percent.
Booker will fill the remaining term of the late Sen. Frank R. Lautenberg, D-N.J. The senator’s June 3 death led to the interim appointment of Republican Jeff Chiesa and a special election four months later.
The rise to the Senate is the latest move for a politician whose ambitions are believed to reach even higher. He has already been mentioned as a potential vice presidential running mate in 2016.
For now, the energetic Booker will have to work to fit in to a stubbornly slow-moving body.
Booker’s defeat of Lonegan, a legally blind former mayor of a small Garden State town, followed an equally breezy Democratic nomination fight in which the outcome was in little doubt. Booker topped three fellow Democrats on Aug. 13, including Reps. Frank Pallone Jr. and Rush D. Holt.
There was some criticism of Booker’s general election campaign for failing to adequately define his opponent early in the race. Still, Democrats never feared losing the seat in a state that hasn’t elected a Republican to the Senate since 1972.
Booker will now face re-election to a full term in November 2014.