On Tuesday, Mayor Cory Booker of Newark, New Jersey won the state’s Democratic primary for the U.S. Senate. The seat vacated by Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.), who died earlier this year, will be up for another election in 2014.
According to the Washington Post, with 98% of precincts reporting, Booker took 60% of the vote defeating New Jersey Congressmen Frank Pallone, Jr. with 20%, and Rush D. Holt with 18% of votes. State Assembly Speaker, Sheila Oliver, came out forth at below 5%.
Booker’s primary victory puts him up for a special election in October against the Republican nominee, former Bogota mayor, Steven Lonegan. The winner will complete the remaining 15 months of the late Lautenberg’s term.
Booker, 44, is seen as a rising star in the Democratic Party with a potential for future presidential office.
“I may have been born in that city (Washington, D.C.), but this state taught me a thing or two about hope and optimism,” Booker said.
He also enjoys a strong relationship with New Jersey’s Republican Governor, Chris Christie, another rising star expected to run for President in future. Booker refused to challenge Christie’s in a 2013 gubernatorial race.
The New York Times raised questions over Booker’s involvement with a Silicon Valley technology start-up that has raised money for his campaign. Speaking in Secaucus on Tuesday, Lonegan attacked Booker as being “anointed” by Hollywood and Silicon Valley executives who want to make him a third senator for California. Yet, the Republicans are not expected to seriously challenge Booker in a predominantly Democratic state, and so far, he leads Lonegan by a wide margin.
Meanwhile, earlier in the summer, both Turkish- and Azeri-American grassroots groups announced their support for Booker as he challenged Pallone, a long-time leading man of the anti-Turkic ethnic lobbies in the House.