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Booker, Lonegan win NJ Senate special election primary

By John Craven, Reporter, JCraven@wfmz.com
Published On: Aug 13 2013 09:05:54 PM CDT
Updated On: Aug 14 2013 04:59:33 AM CDT

NJ Senate primary special election

After two landslide primary wins Tuesday night, the candidates are now set for New Jersey's special election for U.S. Senate.

Newark mayor Cory Booker will face off against former Bogota mayor Steve Lonegan in a race that will be short, but expensive.

Booker trounced three other Democrats, including local congressman Rush Holt.

"The pundits are saying it's going to be a low turnout," Booker said earlier in the day. "Whoever you support, let's show everybody that New Jersey votes.

Booker's opponent is a firebrand anti-tax conservative from Bergen County.

"Lonegan, yep," said Lori Cassar of Phillipsburg.

Cassar may have voted for him, but Lonegan faces an uphill battle against Booker, who has national name recognition and a $4 million campaign war chest.

Primary turnout was so low Tuesday that some precincts only saw one voter every two hours.

"I was number four when I voted, so it was incredibly low turnout," said Pohatcong Twp. Mayor James Kern.

Many western New Jersey voters said it's hard to be engaged when statewide candidates rarely visit this rural corner of the state.

"Get off your butt and get over here," said Cassar's husband, Sal. "We need you to do, you know, A, B, C, and D. You didn't have that."

Kern agreed.

"Steve Lonegan for example was in Harmony last week, and I'm not sure about the Democratic side," he said. "I don't believe any of them came out to the western side of the state."

Now that the candidates are set, the next stop is the special election. That's October 16. Then, Garden State voters go back to the polls a few weeks later to vote for governor.