WEST LONG BRANCH, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Democrat Cory Booker was set to face Republican Steve Lonegan for the U.S. Senate seat in New Jersey following the primary this week, and an expert said Booker will likely cruise to victory.
As WCBS 880’s Peter Haskell reported, Booker – the mayor of Newark — defeated U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone, U.S. Rep. Rush Holt, and state Assemblywoman Sheila Oliver among the Democrats, while Lonegan – a former mayor of Bogota, N.J. who now heads a conservative group – won against opponent Alieta Eck.
Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute, said Booker could likely cruise to victory in the general election as he did in the primary.
“Cory Booker is in the driver’s seat in this race,” Murray said. “His national name recognition, the Democratic advantage in New Jersey, Steve Lonegan’s painting himself into a corner as a conservative on social issues — all plays into Cory Booker’s favor.”
Murray said while New Jersey is a moderate state, Lonegan refuses to moderate his positions.
In accepting his party’s nomination this past Tuesday, Booker spoke about trying to bring people together, about working together, and about moving forward rather than moving right or left.
He said he would fight for marriage equality for gay and lesbian couples, equal pay for women, and raising the minimum wage.
Booker said if he wins, he will bring a new kind of politics to Washington. And he had a message for his Republican challenger.
“I will match his negative attacks with positive vision,” he said.
Lonegan said if he wins, he will fight for less government.
“We are the small businesses that are the backbone of this nation, that mortgage our homes, that build jobs and a real economy in this country — not the government,” he said.
“You can count on this — I will fight for what I believe in with conviction, with passion, and with total commitment to your liberty — every step of the way,” he continued.
Lonegan also wasted no time in slamming Booker.
Booker went on the attack against Lonegan, too.
“If he demeans a woman’s equality, I will affirm it. If he seeks to regulate our gay brothers and sisters to second class citizenship, I will elevate them and everyone,” Booker said.
Voters picked Booker and Lonegan to run to fill the seat of the late U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg, who died in June.
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